At the Quetzal Art Centre in 2018, “Drawing Africa On The Map” was conceived surrounding a solo presentation by Zimbabwean born (1982) Gareth Nyandoro, titled “Ku4” – meaning Ruwa Urban Zone. This was placed in dialogue with works from the Collection de Bruin-Heijn within the framework of the Festival.
As seen at the Quetzal, Nyandoro’s practice is marked by drawing impressions of the material and mental constructs of the urban sphere of economical exchange. Personally dubbed as ‘Kuchekacheka’, his work alternates and combines three dimensional objects with two dimensional collages. He uses a pallet of various found, on-hand materials and ad hoc and traditional craft techniques.
Collection works included a group of early and rarely shown intimate drawings by Marlene Dumas (b.1953, Cape Town) made between the late seventies and early nineties, emphasizing the beginning of the key topics of ‘love, death, and desire’ within her oeuvre. They were shown next to doodle-like and poetic drawings of Moshekwa Langa (b.1975, Limpopo, South Africa). Langa approaches the artistic process as an anthropological study of the self, whereby he works with different media. He uses drawing as a manner of mapping autobiographical content – alternating text, figuration and abstraction.
Well-loved South African artist William Kentridge (b. 1955) is another collection position and installed were his short films “Ten Drawings for Projection”. That series made between 1989 and 2011, exemplify Kentridge’s signature animated drawing technique. Together the films tell the story of the battle between his alter egos – romantic artist Felix Teitelbaum and heartless capitalist Soho Eckstein. The series is set against the backdrop of Kentridge’s hometown Johannesburg and the remaining inequality and struggles of a white man in post-apartheid South Africa.
Presented from Egyptian/Lebanese artist, activist and scholar of the Arabic script, Bahia Shehab (b. 1977) was “A Thousand Times No” – a typographical mural. The work originated from an invitation to participate in an exhibition commemorating 100 year of Islamic art in Europe, under the curatorial condition to use the Islamic script for the proposed work. As a manner of resistance against stereotyping, Shehab felt an urge to say ‘No’ – a forceful no, emphasized within the Arabic language by stating ‘no, and a thousand times no’. That urge triggered her to research everything ever produced under Islamic patronage stating the word ‘No’ within the past 1400 years, from Spain to the borders of China. She proposed the found scripts as a booklet and art work for the exhibition. During the Arabic Revolution in 2011, the word and typography of Shehab’s ‘No’ not only symbolized a personal statement, but simultaneously became a symbol of collective resistance against the Egyptian regime.
Following are images from “Drawing Africa On The Map”, the second Online Exhibition of the Collection de Bruin-Heijn on IC, installed at the picturesque winery where the Quetzal Art Centre is located. Visit here to download the exhibition newspaper for more information.