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Pangaea at the Saatchi

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It’s an ant, It’s a spider, Noo.. It’s human skulls, It’s asylum seekers,  It’s art 

It was a typical rainy day in London, so my exploring was strictly indoors

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 I headed over to Sloane Square to visit my favourite place after the Duke of York Square Food Market.. Saatchi GalleryDSC_0081

i love walking through the Duke of York Square, alfresco dining is a MUST! when the sun is out, of course

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Hellooo Saatchii 🙂

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The Saatchi Gallery’s latest exhibition brings together the work of 16 contemporary South American and African artists

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connecting the two continents to remind us of the supercontinent they once comprised over 270 million years ago, before continental drift: Pangaea.

Hello Geologist Mims 🙂

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The exhibition begun with ‘Casa Tomada‘, the Columbian artist Rafael Gómezbarros’ giant ants climbing all around the walls

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The title ‘Casa Tomada‘ refers to a ghost story by the Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar

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On closer inspection the bodies of the insects are casts of human skulls, representing asylum seekers the world over

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but also paying tribute to thousands of Columbians who died as a result of armed conflict in the country.

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The next set of paintings showcase the work of Aboudia.

Aboudia’s vast paintings convey a jarring visual universe made of dissimilar fragments.

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In 2011 the young artist from the Ivory Coast was forced to take refuge in an underground studio due to the sudden escalation of violence that followed electoral chaos in the city of Abidjan.

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The images born out of this experience are recorded in the work entitled Daloa 29, where a multitude of characters display menacing weapons

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I found Aboudia’s work quite dark, a man with very interesting experiences/stories to tell

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the structures within this piece resembled the traditional african sculptures, an emblem of african art.

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Within this piece were images of these sculptures and girls with their traditional African hairstyles

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Antonio Malta Campos’ large, semi-abstract works take up the better part of three walls in one of the larger galleries.

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Each painting is comprised of two adjoined canvases that show Cubist-style heads; the two canvases can be thought of as separate, but the background shapes across both allow them to become one.

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Sharing the same gallery space as the portraits is a sculptural piece made of glass panels by Jose Carlos Martinat.

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Although these two artists make for a harmonious pairing because of their similarly colourful aesthetics, the contexts in which they create their works are very different

Campos’ work comes to fruition within the confines of his studio, while Martinat’s graffiti window panes are readymade objects from around Mexico City.

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A sequence of interesting pairings continues throughout the exhibition.

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For example, Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou’s photographic series – in homage to Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, it shares gallery space with Boris Nzebo’s paintings of hairstyles merging with the architecture of the city Douala.

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Boris Nzebo’s work had to be one of my favourites

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“Inspired by the hand-painted advertising illustrations found in West African beauty parlors, the heads incarnate the intimate relation between the individual and street life”

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The exhibition also consisted of a series of photographs by Mario Macilau, a social documentary photographer

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Macilau constructs a narrative that, by means of a certain epic realism, produces ambivalent images of arresting power, as they are simultaneously crude and beautiful, mesmerizing and heartbreaking.” 

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His subject is found in African living conditions, social imbalance, environmental disaster and waste, all issues that overwhelm daily life in his city of birth, Maputo, where he continues to live.

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As in the film City of God, where a young photographer strives to record the beauty and terror of his environment and attempts to make a career to soothe the dystopia of underdevelopment

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 Mário Macilau is recognised as a vivid example of resilience and vision amid turbulent waters.

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While both African and Latin American works are tenuously unified by some common themes, including immigration, globalisation and nostalgia for cities’ pasts, their overall diversity poses challenges. Subjects of colonial rule, rapid urban growth, migration, displacement and political and economic unrest come part and parcel.

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 Few of the works are solely defined by their location, making difficult any parallels between the art of Latin America and that of Africa.

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 After leaving the exhibition you are not left with a clear sense of either Latin American or African cultural identity.

But in introducing us well to the work of new artists, Pangaea succeeds.” – Emilie Shane

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images Mine, courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

Text © Gabriela Salgado & Emilie Shane

Love & Light

Mimi

xxx

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