LONDON AGAIN – Saatchi gallery, African Contemporary Art

Maybe the best of Saatchi gallery is that you can hop in and hop out of it like on doubledecker London’s sightseeing buses 🙂 I for sure used this opportunity and came there once more with my daughter when she had her day-off. Maybe the biggest art-nightmare was when we both tried to run through Dresden gallery and to see it all in few hours. That was because I thought that I can never have the opportunity to pop in there once more in my lifetime. OK, it was wrong, but how could I know back then? What I wanted to say id never try to repeat my experience. Better to see less than only have blur in your memory about pieces of art that museum contains 🙂 Well, now about the African art in Saatchi on Panganea exhibition.

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Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo)

Leonce Raphael is a Benin based photographer who inherited his father’s photographic practice, and founded the first photography school in country’s largest city Cotonou. His Demoiselles de Porto Novo are a part of  the series Cirizens of Porto Novo, which focuses on social and cultural facets of the capital city such as religious rituals, sports and even smuggling. In Demoiselles, the female models are dresses in traditional attire, and exibit their nude torsos in the colonial setting of the artist’s family home. The women watch the viewer from behind their wooden ceremonial masks with blank stares that are reminiscent of Picasso’s Demoiseles d’Avignon.

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Aboudia, Enfants dans la rue 2, 2013

The young artist of Ivory Coast takes inspiration from his native country’s torn political state; in 2011 he was forced to take refuge in an underground studio to escape from  the severe violence in the aftermath of elections in the former capital city Abidjan. Aboudija’s more recent works evoke everyday life in Abidjan, using vibrant colour, collaged newspaper cuttings, and tightly packed, overlapping  figures with distinctly erotic undertones, Cars, skyscrapers, television sets, photographs of traditional African sculpture and graffiti-esque scrawl also contribute to this visual symphony of contemporary urban life,

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Dillon Marsh, Assimilation

In the series Assimilation South African artist Marsh focus is on the transformations of the landscape due to animal intervention. Sociable weaver birds are the architects as the bizarre constructions clustered on the towering poles are in fact their nests. Shot in the Kalahari Dessert, the birds reclaim manmade poles which cut through their territory, giving the inanimate object new roles as homes. Whilst remaining resognizaby nest-like, their forms, made up of twigs and leaves , are also carefully crafted statues.

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Mariou Macilau, Peace

His earliest experience as a social documentary photograph was at age fourteen while walking down Vladimir Lenin avenue in his native Maputo, Mozambique, using a borrowed camera, he shot his first image oaf a woman selling manioc-root. Since then, from the street named after the dictator whose revolution reached Africa, he has travelled the world as a professional photographer. Whikst documenting with distinct realism, he also constructs a narrative which is simultaneously crude and beautiful, mesmerizing and heart breaking. He focuses on social imbalance, environmental disaster, hard labour and waste, all issues that overwhelm daily life in Maputo.

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Ibrahim Mahama, Untitled, Draped jute sacks wall installation.

The Ghanaian artist produces his large draping pieces by carefully arranging sacks, which in their past lives have been imported by the Ghana Cocoa Board and are then reused bu charcoak sekkers.

Mahama will often display his appropriated sacks in outside spaces as public art, wrapping them around heaps of merchandise in a market place or embracing the contours of a museum’s facade. The action of covering becomes a political comment on the origins of materials usually taken for granted, exposing the mechanisms of trade which define the world’s economy.

Ukrainian art now – tomorrow!




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