SOUTH SOUTH FILM
1 – 4 September 2022
In our second collaboration with an art fair in the Global South, the video programme Human Tides, took place both online and at FNB Art Joburg in Johannesburg from 1-4 September 2022. The programme featured the work of 17 artists primarily from Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and the Diaspora, and explored the scope of human and cultural influence over the course of various ecosystems, considering absence and amassing, myth-making and mythology. Following on from our collaboration with SP–ARTE in São Paulo earlier in 2022, Human Tides formed part of FNB Art Joburg’s ORG section, which looks to redefine how people engage with organisations that were established for the good of the public.
The physical coastline becomes a metaphor for a ruptured piece of skin barely holding together a volatile state of being ready to explode.
Filmed in the dark of the night during religious festivities in a village in South India, the margin between land and water becomes a point of release beyond which characters experience fear, surprise, anger, sadness, trust, anticipation, excitement, contempt but also rapture as they wash off the masquerade.
Read an essay by the artist on the work here.
Sohrab Hura (b.1981) is a photographer and filmmaker. His work lies at the intersection of Film, Photographs, Sound and Text. By constantly experimenting with form and using a journal like approach, many of his works attempt to question a constantly shifting world and his own place within it. Some of his recent solo and group exhibitions include Spill (Huis Marseille voor Fotografie, 2021)The Coast (Liverpool Biennial 2021), Videonale (Kunstmuseum Bonn 2021, 2019), Spill (Experimenter, India 2020), Companion Pieces: New Photography (The Museum of Modern Art, New York 2020), Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan (Kettle’s Yard, 2019), The Levee: A photographer in the American South (Cincinnati Art Museum, 2019).
The epic crossings of an Ife head emerged from the question: Does homeland long for us? This work visualizes the journey of a Nigerian Ife head who longs for her descendents in the Americas. Ogunji paints her face to suggest the facial markings of this artifact and then makes the difficult attempt to fly. Her stop-motion animation techniques give the viewer a sense of strained movement and flight with a journey that is marked by truncated breathing and cacophonous sounds as she flies through the air in search of history and the future.
Wura-Natasha Ogunji is a visual artist and performer. Her works include drawings hand-stitched into tracing paper, videos and public performances. Her work is deeply inspired by the daily interactions and frequencies that occur in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, from the epic to the intimate. Ogunji’s performances explore the presence of women in public space; these often include investigations of labor, leisure, freedom and frivolity.
In Search of Vanished Blood is inspired by a text from Christa Wolf’s 1983 novel Cassandra. In the video play the story concerns a declining world in which Cassandra offers a way out if only we would listen and learn from the cruelties that have taken place in the past and to create a more humane situation. The video play is interrupted by an account of a woman who is brutally raped. In Search of Vanished Blood extends Malani’s exploration of violence, the regenerative power of myth, the feminine voice, and the geo-politics of national identity. While referencing the place of women in Indian society, this work weaves together content from across cultures and time to other contexts and conditions in its interrogation of issues relating to justice, gender and their representation, by including literary texts, mythology and accounts of historical events.
The video play revolves around complex themes such as the curse of prophecy, the lethal position of women, and the failure of human communication. As such the work translates across cultures as it interrogates issues relating to justice, gender and representation.
The title and the main text in this work come from Agha Shahid Ali’s translation of the Urdu poem Lahu Ka Suragh (1965) by the Pakistani left-wing intellectual and revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. It references Christa Wolf’s version of Cassandra, and Rainer Maria Rilke’s book, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, 1910. The soundtrack is inspired by a selection of texts from Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine (1977), Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape (1958), and the short story Draupadi by the Indian social activist and writer Mahasweta Devi, translated by Gayatri Spivak.
A new commission of the work In Search of Vanished Blood (2012/2022) is currently on view and projected on the façade of the M+ museum in Hong Kong through October 30, 2022, where a major solo exhibition of the artist Nalini Malani: Vision in Motion was recently held.
Nalini Malani is widely considered the pioneer of experimental video art in India and one of the foremost artists working internationally in the field of inter-media and inter-disciplinary practice. Born in Karachi the year before the partition of the Indian Subcontinent, Malani’s own history of displacement as a refugee deeply informs her practice. Her work is dedicated to the possibility of change in the uncertain and urgent space where social activism, history and artistic forces coalesce. Trained as a painter, Malani’s early studio practice saw her collaborate with theatre directors, dancers and poets, before studying philosophy and linguistics in Paris with Chomsky, Althusser and Barthes. Malani draws on personal narratives as well as literature, theatre, music, song, poetry and the stories of individuals, marginalised or excluded from the cannons of politics, literature andhistory. In her video plays, these intimate and often traumatic stories become entwined within a complex layering of immersive pictorial space that embraces both the memorial and the aural. The artist draws on early Italian Renaissance painting cycles and South Asian traditions of reverse painting, alongside more recent techniques of animation and proto-cinematic projection. Nalini Malani was born in 1946 in Karachi, India. She currently lives and works in India and Europe.
The video is filmed at Ryugakubo, an illusory pond bearing various ryujin (dragon god) folktales. The video highlights how water from the Ryugakubo, which supplies water for daily life of local people, is carried from one hand to the other to be poured into a barrel.
Berlin based Japanese artist Taguchi Yukihiro garnered much attention for his unique “performative installations,” which combines elements of drawing, performance, animation and installation, getting inspiration from and capturing the features and history of the places he engages.
Branches are Roots in the Sky functions as visual exegesis of a “pre-constructed” rather than a “de-constructed” world. It presents entropic processes and emergent order in a stream of homologous imagery spanning temporal and physical scales—topological variations in still and turbulent water, the etching of river ways through a landmass, the emergent and entropic cycles of life and decay in a forest. An accompanying soundscape similarly dilates or contracts natural processes to the temporal scale of human perception.
Throughout his career of three decades, Zheng Chongbin (b. 1961, Shanghai) has held the classical Chinese ink tradition and Western pictorial abstraction in productive mutual tension. Systematically exploring and deconstructing their conventions and constituents—figure, texture, space, geometry, gesture, materiality—he has developed a distinctive body of work that makes the vitality of matter directly perceptible. Central to Zheng’s art is the notion of the world as always in flux, consisting of flows of matter and energy that repeatedly cohered and dissipated. Inherent in pre-modern Chinese and especially Daoist thought, this worldview enables contemporary inquiries into complex systems like climate and social behavior, artificial intelligence, and quantum physics. Through the interactions of ink, acrylic, water, and paper, Zheng’s paintings generate and record the processes that underlie the emergence of order (including organic life and human consciousness) and its inevitable dissipation. His paintings thus resemble natural structures ranging from neurons, blood vessels, and tree branches to mountains, rivers, and coastlines, but by instantiating their formation rather than by objective depiction.
Ouragualamalma takes a look at the cruel exploitation of natural and human resources that resulted in the decimation of ancient civilizations, ancestral Latin American cultures. Time passed, time passes and the mark of evil persists. What we see today is a murderous form of reckless exploitation, causing terrible environmental disasters – the outcome not of nature, but of the ignorance of the exploiting man, who does not have eyes to see beyond himself. A persistent interference, a message in the language of beings from beyond the earth, announces a sign, a warning that comes from the sky to protect us.
Eder Santos (b. 1960) currently lives and works in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. A pioneer of multimedia art in Brazil, Santos is recognised worldwide for developing hybrid projects that mix visual arts, cinema, theatre, video and new media. His works integrate the permanent collections of institutions such as the MoMA in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, two of the largest contemporary art museums in the world.
Santos has an award winning career as a film director, having made fifteen short films, the TV series “Midnight Tales” (2004, TV Cultura, 90 episodes) and also the feature film “Intriguing People” (1995), awarded Best Montage in the 17th Festival del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano in Havana (Cuba) and Special Mention in the 17th Festival et Forum International des Nouvelles Images in Locarno (Switzerland). Currently, Santos is dedicated to the production of his third feature film “The House of the Red Sunflower”. The project is a result of the artist’s continuous experimenting with video language and his relation with the visual arts.
The first time I visited Standing Rock was four years ago. At the time, I did not see these prairie dogs tunneling through the quiet grassy plains that stretched into the distance－they were on the other side of the hills. Since then however, an oil pipeline was planned and protesters arrived en masse. The construction company’s bulldozers, thousands of protesters, and the mass media all congregated on the other side of the hills, filling television news and social media with images of human strife.
No one noticed that, meanwhile, the prairie dogs were being driven out of their home, over the hills, and resettling here. I recorded their movements, imperceptible from above ground, and attempted to question the supposedly “natural” scenery in front of me. – Kato Tsubasa
Kato Tsubasa (b. 1984, Saitama) currently lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. Kato is a performance artist whose work relies largely on the participation of others. He is most well known for his Pull and Raise project, an ongoing series of performances in which spontaneously formed groups work together to pull down large-scale structures with ropes. This work challenges us to see each project site’s environment as a narrative reflected in the shape and the weight of the structure. By employing communal action to pull and manipulate this structure, he represents the social order in terms of an alterable, physical form, in other words, provides a platform for people to spontaneously and unconsciously cooperate in order to envision change.
Kato has received the Kengo Kuma Prize (JP, 2010); Bronze Prize and Jury Prize (Sakata Kazumi) of GEISAI#12, Tokyo (JP, 2009) and shortlisted of The 13th Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art, Kawasaki, Japan.
In his continuous engagement with the Partition of India, through the work Objects of fictitious togetherness-I (shown at a number of locations within India), through the trope of water, Atul Bhalla attempts to conceptualize the interplay between memory, post-memory and truth around the Freedom Struggle, the Partition and subsequent events in Punjab. In this work, he aims to use a part of a wall painting on the convergence of an arch at the Guru Ki Masjid, the only mosque built by a Sikh Guru, which is located in his ancestral village of Sri Hargobindpur and is now a UNESCO site.
He attempts to conjure history in referential dialogue, by re-addressing lost pasts, and re-locating such in the personal, the social, and the cultural. But here the cracks, like a wound or dehiscence, dissolve and reappear. They are slow but pending and present, unfocused as one’s vision is, that one is unable to grasp.
The work poetically addresses the people, territories and the politics of water sharing, rivers and borders activated by the historical moment of the Partition. Drawing on local meanings of rivers and water of the land for each community and Punjabis in general, in the larger context of the work Bhalla wishes examine the notion of truth within ‘Punjabiyat’ (being from the Punjab) on which both Hindus and Muslims pride themselves here and across the border. In particular, he focuses on how truth has unfolded itself during the trauma of the Partition and what truth means today within the South Asian context.
Born in 1964, Atul Bhalla completed his bachelor’s in fine arts from the College of Art, University of Delhi, and his master’s in fine arts from the School of Art, Northern Illinois University, USA. Bhalla is a conceptual artist working with environmental issues, particularly those surrounding water, for more than two decades. His work invites audiences to engage directly with urban and metropolitan spaces, and in particular water resources, in his city New Delhi as well as those he visits during the course of international exhibitions and residencies. In his engagement with the eco-politics of water, Bhalla has been pushing for various thematic links through his multifaceted practice.
In The Future They Ate From The Finest Porcelain resides in the cross-section between science-fiction, archaeology and middle-east politics. Combining live action, computer generated imagery and historical photographs the film explores the role of myth in history, fact and national identity. A narrative resistance group makes underground deposits of elaborate porcelain – suggested to belong to an entirely fictional civilisation. Their aim is to influence history and support future claims to their vanishing lands.
In the Future They Ate From the Finest Porcelain co-produced and co-directed with Søren Lind and co-commissioned by FLAMIN Productions through Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network with funding from Arts Council England; New Art Exchange; Bluecoat, Liverpool; Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton; and The Mosaic Rooms, A.M.Qattan Foundation, London; with support from Doha Film Institute; The Danish Arts Council, Arts Council England, Iambic Film, Knud Højgaards Fond and Contemporary Art Platform – Kuwait. Produced by Spike Film and Video, Bristol.
Larissa Sansour was born in Jerusalem and studied Fine Art in Copenhagen, London and New York. Her work is interdisciplinary and uses film, photography, installation and sculpture. Sansour has had several major solo shows internationally. She presented Heirloom, an exhibition curated by Nat Muller for the Danish Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019.
Søren Lind is a Postwar & Contemporary artist who was born in 1970. Numerous key galleries and museums such as MOMus Contemporary have featured Søren Lind’s work in the past. Lind has been featured in articles for Dazed and Confused and Blok Magazine. The most recent article is Art Shows to Leave the House for This March written for Dazed and Confused in March 2022. Select Group shows include: Let the Song Hold Us, FACT Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool, UK, 2022; Larissa Sansour, Søren Lind, In Vitro, 2019, MOMus Contemporary, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2021; The Invented History, KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany, 2020; Stone Telling, Kunstraum Niederoesterreich, Vienna, Austria, 2019; Exil, Charim Dorotheergasse ,Wien, Austria, 2019.
The nomadic displacement between natural and urban landscapes reveals the contradictions inherent to the modernist project of Latin America: How are we seen? How do we see ourselves? Is it our self-awareness representation or idealization?
The eye floats over the Leachates, searching for the code that divides reality in two parts: the garbage and the origin. Artworks fall out of the sky? Do we find them along the road avoiding vultures and scavengers? Or do they find us? The left-and-right game (product of our political eye) bounces off in myriad directions from the glass walls. It bounces inside the vacuum of a transparent box that reflects the exterior with different lenses, but that does not distort it.
In response to the spatial coordinates proposed by Cartesian logic, the oneiric character of the film discloses the sovereignty of hallucination beyond class distinctions. Subverting spatial conventions inherited from Renaissance perspective (those that had determined film space since its invention), the film inquires: Are we protagonists or spectators? Are we inside or outside the cube?
Miguel Angel Ríos studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires before moving to New York in the 1970s to escape the military dictatorship in Argentina. He subsequently relocated to Mexico and now divides his time between the U.S. and Mexico. In his work, Ríos pairs a rigorous conceptual approach with a meticulously constructed, often handmade aesthetic. Since the 1970s, he has made work about the concept of the “Latin American,” using this idea as both an artistic strategy and a political problem. In the 1990s, he began creating a series of maps, which he carefully folded and pleated by hand. Marking the 500th anniversary of the “discovery” of the Americas, the maps indicate long histories of power and colonial experience, and they reference traditional indigenous arts in the Americas, including the Andean quipu.
In the Western tradition of the Enlightenment, darkness is an uncomfortable place. The lack of visibility and of clarity is associated with the absence of knowledge, with the monstrous, with the hidden, and with those states of humanity closest to bestiality. It is the witching hour, a time of danger and helplessness. All cats are black at night, which in Spanish popular wisdom belongs to wolves and thieves.
What can we find, then, in this nocturnal scene, the shadowy state presented by Sara Ramo in her video Os Ajudantes (The Helpers)? What kind of help is offered? We distinguish three elements which barely serve to help build a narrative, and which place us in a dreamlike atmosphere: bonfires that allow us to catch a glimpse of something; people in masks who enter and exit the frame in a seemingly senseless stroll; and the music that they play, which we are unable to associate with any other recognisable melody from classic tunes. In this way, the hidden and indiscernible, the masks and the sounds, force us to press our abilities of perception and attention, as well as to question our possible analyses. When the light surges, though just for an instant, nature appears noisier and more exuberant, only to return again to a state of semi-darkness.
– Marta Ramos-Yzquierdo
Sara Ramo works directly with the elements that define immediate daily life in order to reconfigure them into strange and foreign presences. The alteration of the natural order of things is not a simple formal exercise, for the artist this represents the possibility to create new structures of sensitivity. Ramo participates in a vast heritage from a cultural tradition that has confronted the utilitarian and scientific perspective of the modern world; incorporating notions from mysticism, mythology and magic, the artist questions the relationship between human beings and objects that are only determined by utility. Fracturing this paradigm, new narrative possibilities emerge, involving spatial and temporal consequences.
The artist’s work has been shown in international exhibitions such as the XIII Bienal de La Habana; 33rd Biennal of São Paulo, 2018; the Panorama da Arte Brasileira at MAM-Sao Paulo in 2011, Sharjah Biennal 11, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and at the 2010 Sao Paulo Biennial; 9th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2013 and 2007; the Venice Biennale in 2009 and the 10th Anniversary of Inhotim, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Her work is part of international collections including: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Fundación Botín, Madrid, Spain; Banco de España, Madrid, Spain; Pérez Art Museum of Miami, United States; Casa di Risparmio di Modena, Modena, Italy; Patrícia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, Miami, United States; Coleção Gilberto Chateaubriant – MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Coleção Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil; FRAC, Paris, France; Inhotim, Brumadinho, Brazil; Margulies Collection, Miami, United States; Carlos Marsano Collection, Lima, Peru; Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Sara Ramo lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil.
Toil tells a story of a woman, a woman who has dedicated her life to activism and the liberation of people and of her own people. Some might even call her a feminist. The story looks at how the world and its systems have always deterred women, often to the point of surrender.
As women, we frequently get to a point that we think that the work is done, but it in fact, it has just begun. This story takes inspiration from activists such as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Josina Machel, women of the 32 Battalion and Angolan women during the civil war and post-war in Angola. These women sowed the seeds but never ate the fruits of their labour, for example, Josina Machel died before she saw a liberated Mozambique. In the same vein, women of the 32 Battalion faced many hardships historically which continue to creep into the present. In another instance, women of post war angola face disproportionate economic inequality, misogyny and inequality at large. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela saw a ‘free’ South Africa but her name was tarnished.
In moving towards a decentralised world, we must be conscious of historical injustices towards women who fought for the freedoms that we have today and not perpetuate a culture of disempowerment. Women who fight, who stand up to injustices and inequalities should be able to reap the victories of the seeds that they sowed.
Helena Uambembe (she/her) is an Angolan-South African artist whose work interrogates the dyadic relationship between the political (world politics) and the domestic (personal politics). Drawing from personal and familial history, Uambembe maps the ideological and intimate space created by the historical and colonial links between Angolan, Southern African and global history. Born in South Africa in 1994, her Angolan parents fled the Angolan civil war back in 1975 and settled in the embattled Pomfret with other families of the 32 Battalion. Uambembe was raised in this community populated by a black and Angolan military unit, established by the apartheid-era South African Defence Force. The 32 Battalion were deployed to combat “the communisy threat” across the continent. This complex family history (itself a disruption of current accepted narratives of post-colonial Africa), the 32 Battalion, Pomfret and her Angolan heritage are dominant themes in her multi-disciplinary approach. Uambembe’s installation titled What you see is not what you remember at the Art Basel Statements section was a tender recreation of a home that agitates at the edges of memory and the familiar. What You See is Not What You Remember was awarded the 2022 Baloise Art Prize.
The Empty Plaza/La Plaza Vacía is a single-channel video. Inspired by the organized public protests in the Middle East beginning in 2011, the artist took note of the communal spaces around the world being utilized and, in contrast, those left empty.
The empty Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, Cuba becomes the protagonist in her meditation on public space, revolutionary promise, and memory. Intermittent close-range views bring the Plaza’s architecture into focus; long takes documenting Fusco’s passage through the vacant square are punctuated by vintage archival footage depicting scenes from Post-Revolutionary Cuba. Throughout the duration of the video, a Spanish narration, written by acclaimed Cuban journalist Yoani Sanchez, describes what appears—and does not appear—in view. Also on exhibit are film stills from The Empty Plaza. Cinematic in impact, the images are dominated by a broad horizon line as the large sky and the vast civic plaza are nearly equalized.
“The absence of public in some plazas seemed just as resonant and provocative as its presence in others,” Fusco recalls. “Cuba’s Plaza of the Revolution is one such place—a stark, inhospitable arena where all the major political events of the past half-century have been marked by mass choreography, militarized displays and rhetorical flourish. I decided to create a piece about that legendary site—an empty stage filled with memories, through which every foreigner visitor passes, while nowadays many, if not most, Cubans flee.”
Coco Fusco (b.1960) is an interdisciplinary artist and writer who explores the politics of gender, race, war, and identity through multi-media productions incorporating large-scale projections, closed-circuit television, web-based live streaming performances with audience interaction, as well as performances that actively engage with audiences. Over the past twenty-ﬁve years, Fusco has investigated the ways that intercultural dynamics affect the construction of the self and ideas about cultural otherness. Her work is informed by multicultural and postcolonial discourses as well as by feminist and psychoanalytic theories, yielding art projects about ethnographic displays, animal psychology, sex tourism in the Caribbean, labor conditions in free trade zones, suppressed colonial records of indigenous struggles, and military interrogation in the War on Terror. Much of her recent work focuses on Cuban culture in the post-Communist era.
Fusco is a Professor at the Cooper Union School of Art. She is the author of Dangerous Moves: Performance and Politics in Cuba (2015); English is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas (1995); The Bodies that Were Not Ours and Other Writings (2001); and A Field Guide for Female Interrogators (2008). She is the editor of Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (1999) and Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self (2003). She contributes regularly to The New York Review of Books, e-ﬂux, Hyperallergic, and numerous other publications.
Fusco has won numerous awards, including the 2021 Anonymous Was A Woman Award; the 2021 Latinx Artist Fellowship from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; American Academy of Arts and Letters Arts Award (2021); Rabkin Foundation Prize for Art Journalism (2018); Greenﬁeld Prize in Visual Art (2016); CINTAS Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship (2014–2015); Guggenheim Fellowship (2013); Absolut Art Award for Art Writing (2013); USA Berman Bloch Fellow (2012); and Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (2003). Fusco received her B.A. in Semiotics from Brown University (1982), her M.A. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University (1985), and her Ph.D. in Art and Visual Culture from Middlesex University (2007). Since 1988, she has performed, lectured, exhibited, and curated around the world.
Unmoving rock collapsed to ocean—geology’s “thrust and fold”—becomes the unlikely habitat for two actors’ shadowy encounters with sand, waves, night, desert, dread, calm, trepidation and escape.
“Shambhavi Kaul’s Night Noon sets up dialectical dread in Death Valley with a series of uncanny shots of eroded, geological formations and dunes that seemingly fold into night skies and shimmering waters. Beginning in Zabriskie Point, the film surreptitiously crosses over into Mexico, its creative geography never far from our cinematic memory.”
– Andréa Picard
Shambhavi Kaul (b.1973, Jodhpur. Lives and works in Durham, USA) makes experimental films and moving image installations which deconstruct time and space to conjure uncanny non-places. With a background in editing, her filmmaking is akin to assemblage, bringing together existing archival footage with original shoots in a convergence of documentary and fictional frameworks. Re-contextualised in the gallery space, the films disperse and become multi-media landscapes. Whether including characters or hauntingly de-peopled, Kaul’s work indulges the fantastical whilst holding on to the familiar.
Kiluanji Kia Henda’s video installation Concrete Affection – Zopo Lady (2014) references modern architecture in Luanda and the mass exodus of Portuguese and white Angolan citizens after Angola’s independence from Portugal in 1975. Inspired by Ryszard Kapuściński’s book Another Day of Life (1976), which documented the last days of colonialism in Luanda, the film includes images of key modern sites, terraces, buildings, streets, and avenues that are uninhabited with a narrator recounting his personal experience, and the painful decision to leave the city he was born in and lived in his entire life. In preparing his box for shipment, the narrator is confronted by platonic love for a woman: the impossibility of ‘boxing affections’ torments him and undermines his plans to escape. The crate structure references modern architectural facades, which are common to buildings in Luanda realized during the colonial era. The installation is also based on the scenario caused by the exodus, when thousands of boxes with personal belongings were sent from Angola to Portugal by those who were trying to escape the chaos that ensued in this proxy battleground for the Cold War powers.
Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979, Luanda, Angola) employs a surprising sense of humour in his work, which often homes in on themes of identity, politics, and perceptions of post-colonialism and modernism in Africa. Kia Henda brings a critical edge to his multidisciplinary practice, which incorporates photography, video, and performance. Informed by a background surrounded by photography enthusiasts, Kia Henda’s conceptual-based work has further been sharpened by exposure to music, avant-garde theatre, and collaborations with a collective of emerging artists in Luanda’s art scene. Much of Kia Henda’s work draws on history through the appropriation and manipulation of public spaces and structures, and the different representations that form part of collective memory, in order to produce complex, yet powerful imagery.
Kia Henda currently lives and works between Luanda and Lisbon.
Gigi Scaria’s narrative marks his preoccupation with contemporary anthropocene urgencies: his practice is largely based on hyper-urbanization, environmental devastation, global warming, and warnings of (human) self-destruction of mother earth and her habitat. His practice veers between paintings, sculptures and animated videos.
We live in dystopic times. We have emerged or continue to remain in a pandemic, between this a war ensues taking proportions that we are unable to envisage the future of. But when Gigi created this video in 2015 his reference points were other times in history. 8 years later, this work remains to be precient. It speaks to this current moment in time as a reminder that the landscape stiched together through images of refugee camps, sourced through varying times in history, continue to scroll with no beginning or end.
In this video, ‘Expanded’ (2015) painstakingly mapped, these vast stretches of refugee settlements across history seamlessly come together as a mass landscape of interim solution, or maybe, habit. Are there food packages being distributed, the absence of the human presence is stark. Is it a preparation for things to come, have the humans vacated?
Be it Auschwitz, in Nazi Germany, Darfur in Sudan or Syria today. How does one emerge out of these temporary habitats? Where do these people return to? How long do these spaces continue to be of refuge? How safe are they? The monotonous grey landscape gives no answers, and quietly continues to scroll in its horizontal quietude.
Gigi Scaria was born in Kothanalloor, a village in southern Kerala, India, in 1973. In 1995, after completing a bachelor’s of fine arts degree at the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram, Scaria moved to New Delhi where he undertook a master’s of arts at Jamia Millia Islamia. In the mid 1990s, while establishing his career as a professional artist, Scaria also illustrated children’s books and taught art at an experimental school in New Delhi. By 2000, increased international exposure was accompanied by prestigious residency opportunities and solo exhibitions in India, Germany, America, Hungary, the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Scaria’s creative repertoire includes painting, photography, installation, sculpture and video.
In 2017, his major solo exhibition was held at Aicon Gallery, New York. He has also featured his work in a number of solo shows and independent installations, including Gallery Chemould (Mumbai); Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi); Videospace Budapest; the Smart Museum of Art, the University of Chicago; and Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, USA, among others.
The artist lives and works in Delhi.