Willkommen bei der 11. BERLINER LISTE

September 11, 2014

Come and meet us at the BERLINER Liste from September 18th to 21st | Postbahnhof Berlin.
I will be presenting my art works together with Sofia Kapnissi (through the Gaidaro foundation).

If you needed an excuse to invigorate yourself, then come and find us in an adventurous art city trip.
The Berliner Liste will have 112 exhibitors from 24 countries and you will mingle with 10000 visitors, so there is plenty to see.

The opening is Official Opening, Sep 17th, 2014

Gaidaro

Summarizing the events in Harare

May 20, 2014

object03

solar The airport  being the obvious place where airplanes land and take off, is also an important physical location where some serious thinking is done. It marks a moment when I project my self into the future, and on a returning journey I spend time reliving and summarizing the events during my travels. This time after my exhibition in Harare with rotating objects and drawings I tried to question myself with 6 key evaluation questions such as:
”What art processes were planned and what was actually put in place for the project?….”, but found the answers something short sighted and for the economist. So I page through notes and recall conversations.
The most remarkable moment of the exhibition would have to be that the audience  interacted with the artwork by means of a torch, light, solar panels and an electrical motor turning the objects. During the opening for example, people took their time to go from object to object and examine the reaction that the light had on the artworks. In fact what they were doing was examining the effects that the light had on the surface of the object, and this is precisely how I question and observe the small art works.  How does the light reflect, what texture does it reveal, what shadows does it cast, what tonal difference in the shadows tell me that the object is three dimensional and finally if I turn the beam of light to an other angle what happens to the image and why? This information I use as an artist to make painting or more sketches. But to come back to the opening, I felt that the audience was captivated, they talked about the objects, the mechanism, the show.

bw_prints_Page_22
‘So what comes first, the object or the drawing, or the painting?’, guests would ask.
None, I would answer. The exhibition shows the precise evolving process of an artist. The origins of the idea is so far and faint in the past that they no longer have any influence to the present physical form, be it the drawings, paintings or objects. By observing, unfolding and questioning these three forms,  I answer with new artworks, that in turn will be observed and questioned again forming a continuous evolving spiral. [action reaction]

‘What are they? What does it symbolize?’ Each person will see what it is, what it symbolizes and how much power it has. Option, a sculptor tells me how ”the bull” triggered his youth memories. One of the objects, a small bull (approximately 2cm high)  made of dark brown earthenware clay, glued on the inclination of a triangular piece of wood, spins in the light. ‘When I was living in the rural area,’ Option tells me with excitement, ‘with my parents and grandparents on a small farm, we had a big black bull. It was a kind of crazy bull and on some occasions the bull would escape from its pen.  We would always find the beast on top of a hill, feet locked like a mountain goat on the steep rocks and head pointing proudly up, nostrils flared and grunting at the far horizon.’  Later Option wrote in my guest book ”I like that BULL!!”

The airplane took me from Harare to Lusaka and in the early hours of the morning we landed in Dubai international airport where I would catch my connecting flight to Amsterdam. Having some time on my hands, a twenty dollar bill and a wish for a cup of coffee I set off to find one of the coffee chains. When the lady at the counter saw the dollar bill, she immediately said  she could not take it, ”It’s too old”.
‘Yeah but’, I protested, ‘I’ve been using dollar bills like this for weeks, dollars can’t get old; it’s money.’
The next place told me my money was too dirty, and they would also not accept it. This encounter put a whole new spin on money laundering. However this left me without a coffee, a worthless 20 dollar bill and I felt like a sitting duck, a target for unscrupulous bank CEOs. It made me link the arts and money, how some art was worth money and other art works as worthless as my dirty money. And yet for the artist, each art piece that is expressed in physical form is a step in the artist’s personal development and so his culture. At the next coffee place I ordered an expensive cappuccino from Harkaman hiding my old and dirty money until Florence proceeded to whizz the machines. Ha! My money was no longer old nor soiled, because Harkaman saw the agreement between himself, the cappuccino and me. [Back in the game].

speaker_connector
Bringing art works to Zimbabwe for an exhibition  is an exceptional process. Not so much the logistics which consists of making the art works look worthless in a messy suitcase, and thus avoid having to pay import taxes. But an exceptional reversal process as art flows out of the country not in. I have had three solo exhibitions in Harare starting in 1994, 2012 and now 2014 and each time I bring something, it surprises to the brink of ungraspable. Not because the work is indecipherable, rather there are hardly any international exhibitions let alone African art exchanges. In fact there is not much of an contemporary art interest or market amongst the local population, the players are few and the road to any form of success (economical or spiritual) is to Europe or North America. This causes a general unease in the arts, besides the education system is not strong enough to educate about contemporary African art. As the local artists tell me all the ‘important’ art has been sold over eagerly to collectors outside of Africa and what cultural documentation remains is hardly contemporary and is written by former colonists three decades ago. Needless to say there is great awareness amongst artists to educate their fellow man, they know, road is long.

moon northern hemisphere

moon southern hemisphere

In Zimbabwe the moon is upside down. After a few days in Harare you change your point of view, and some time later you see it like all people living in Zimbabwe, bright and surrounded by dozens of nebulae and other star clusters. The way I observed the art and the maker also changes with time. I have noticed that art is made in a different way. One way that European artists may start making their art work is from the art supplies and tools at hand (canvas, paint and brushes). In Zimbabwe I found that the artists starts from a different point. There is hardly any art material to work with.  Creative survivalist know the challenge ”How to open a can without a can opener”. Creative kids know what to do when there is no TV and they have gnawed through their boredom. So the starting point of the artist is from nothing, and that makes the work so very challenging. It is almost like a training, a school of thought, a style like minimalism, but then the ”starting from nothing” style. The Zimbabwean artist starts painting with nothing, then finds household paint, continues to paints mixing colours with offset printers ink, or starts with yellow and finding other colours in the form of plastic bottle tops, sweet wrappers or broken shoes. Or consider this simplification; an artist drawing a silhouette of a rabbit, in Africa they may draw the abstract forms from the space around the rabbit (from nothing), and not from the ears or eyes or fur. When I look at their work the opposite happens, I first see the bottle tops, the electronic print plates, the bicycle pedal and then as if by magic, I see the creation.

analyzing the inside shapes, or look at the outside shapes

analyzing the inside shapes, or look at the outside shapes

During last  three days in Harare I freed myself up from the exhibition to spend some time in the botanical gardens and to explore the clouds using a video camera. The clouds form low and rapid in the skies after eleven o’clock in the morning. By leaving the camera on the ground and pointing up towards the sky I recording five minutes at the time. Playing the video fast forward made me realize that the rolling motion of the clouds was similar to the the rotating objects. It is something I want to work with.

But what impact did your art work have?
In 1999 I left the USA after doing a collection of paintings on shadows of basket ballplayers and hotel paintings in Mexico. I thought they had little impact on any one but my self, but I was wrong, Kelsay Myers wrote in 2013:
“But this one looks like spirits,” I said, and it did. What I didn’t say was that the spirits made me want to write. Their shapes and colors haunted me. The sky captured my imagination.”

http://www.kelsayelizabethmyers.com/2013/02/24/an-emphasis-on-reality/

A N    E M P H A S I S   O N   R E A L I T Y

A N E M P H A S I S O N R E A L I T Y

next: 3rd Ruhr Biennial – Townshipwise different 2015 http://ruhrbiennale.de/

opening evening photos

May 9, 2014

opening First Floor Galley:
Pictures by Kumbulani Zamuchiya

opening first floor gallery

discussing how the light interacts with the surface of the object

photo: Kumbulani Zamuchiya

Interacting with the object using the solar panels to power the rotation of the object.

photo: Kumbulani Zamuchiya

relating to the art works.

photo: Kumbulani Zamuchiya

Observing the objects turn with the power of solar energy

photo: Kumbulani Zamuchiya

K_Van, Valerie Kabov, Marcus Gora and guests

photo: Kumbulani Zamuchiya

During the day the object turn gently, powered by solar enegry

photo: Kumbulani Zamuchiya

Babies, family and friends join the exhibition.

photo: Kumbulani Zamuchiya

Discussion, how the objects might work in Scandinavian. They would turn, then stop in a random position for the winter.

prototype feb 2013

workshop “getting art into schools”

May 8, 2014

the following notes are for the artists that participated in my workshop “getting art into schools”.  Harare,  8 May

Healthy food posters,
an art project for primary schools

traing session

a look into the future During the morning school assembly the headmaster of the local primary school proudly announces the children’s poster campaign for ‘healthy food’. Thirty-two posters made with black crayons on paper  prominently hang in all the classrooms of the school. Each child that has worked on the artwork for the poster has thought and discussed ‘healthy food’ with their classmates. During the course of the week each class-teacher  will use the ‘healthy food’ poster to talk about healthy food with their class.

Earlier that week a group of artists came to visit the school. Through an active workshop the artists created an awareness of healthy food by telling the children draw and talk as a way to communicate this message. They engaged the children to talk about healthy food in relation to their own health. Each child made a poster using coarse black crayon on paper advocating healthy food and discussed the topic with their peers. We want children to reflect on themselves and on others.

The workshop
During the art workshops in the primary schools, artists will work with several classes to create awareness posters (such as healthy food). They will have approximately 90 minutes per class in which children will make a poster. As an introduction to each lesson the artists will address the class with the awareness theme and allow the children to unfold the theme through a open brainstorm session. After the introduction the artists will focus on the making of the poster. They will not teach children how to draw but rather focus on self-awareness and their own creativity. They do this by asking the children what they think and to use the information that they already know. Paper and crayon (provided by the artists) are handed out and children are given some practical instructions on the making of a poster. The children will have approximately 40 minutes to draw. After the drawing session the artists will ask the children to pair up and tell each other about their posters. Groups of children are then asked to make a very small presentation of the works to the rest of the class. The works  will then be collected and the artists summarise the results of the presentations. After a Q&A the artists will collect all the materials and the posters and go to the next class.

Posters and awareness
The artists may digitize the artworks, and prepare them for display and distribution in the school.

Goal

  • Children and teachers are aware that drawing is an important tool of communication.
  • Children witness their own power of self-expression in the drawings.
  • Children are familiar with the sharing of ideas and feelings through art.
  • Adults witness children’s expression through art.

 

Training of the artists
Giving the right tool to the artists is the key to the success of this project. Teaching and guiding children in the arts takes hours of practice.

During the training each artist presented parts of the workshop to their peers so that we could fine tune their own presentation and work form. In each phase we want to be especially aware of the active participation of the artists and the goals that we have set for ourselves.

This training is set up in 3 phases

  1. Activate the artists through the training workshop.
    Let them practice the workshop with their fellow artists.
    Evaluate and adjust the program
  2. Let the artists try and get results from small local workshops with 15 children
    Evaluate and adjust the program
  3. The artists start the program
    after each school evaluate and adjust the program

Further questions and notes

Summery workshop

  1. Artists and children explore drawing as a means of communication.
  2. Artists and children represent themselves through drawings.
  3. During the workshop artists give direct positive feedback on the drawings made by the children.
  4. Art is collected for further processing.

 

Materials:

  • Drawing paper without lines A3
  • Crayons \ (make this ourselves?)

Participation levels

Using the UNICEF ladder of participation this project will be ‘assigned but informed’.

1. The children understand the intentions of the project;
2. They know who made the decisions concerning their involvement and why;
3. They have a meaningful (rather than ‘decorative’) role;
4. They willingly participate with the project after the project was made clear to them.

 

Evaluate and progress

Artworks

  1. Was the quality of the artworks good enough for the posters?
  2. Was the message clear to others?
  3. Did each child receive their poster to take home?

 

Workshop

  1. Did the workshop start on time?
  2. Could the children come up with ideas about drawing?
  3. Did the children understand what they had to draw, namely themselves?
  4. Could the children work with the material provided?
  5. Could the children talk about their works?
  6. Did they enjoy the activity?
  7. Did the workshop end on time?

 

Follow up with school

  1. Did the school present the work?
  2. Did the classes take time to look and talk about the work?
  3. Was there any feedback from school?
  4. What did the school think of the project?
  5. Would they like to be involved in future projects?
  6. Would they be will to help with costs?

 

Artists

  1. Are the artists satisfied with the results?
  2. Are the materials enough and good?
  3. Are they getting support from school?
  4. Is there something they can do to improve the project?
  5. Are there more opportunities for the artists to activate themselves with in the schools?
  6. Do they think there is a way to generate finances?
  7. If not how long can the project run?

Opening this afternoon in Harare

May 8, 2014

at the First Floor Gallery 17:30rotating object

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HIFA 2014 day 5

May 5, 2014

Zimbabwe has great clouds. Low flying puffs of vapour twisting in the sky. They reach high over the tree tops but are close enough for you to be in contact with them, like messengers from heaven. It is my belief that artists are influenced by their land. Fly over the Spanish landscape and you see the rugged canvas of the Spanish painter. The Dutch painter has the ordered lines. Of course I am generalizing, but a sky filled with endless blobs of beautiful clouds must have some impact on the people.clouds in Zimbabwe

HIFA 2014 day 5

In the HIFA green pavilion, reserved for the artists (as in musician artist?) we sat and compared football management with the arts market. All the Zimbabwean contemporary artists know someone personally that has exhibited at the Venice Art Biennale. Meaning that there are many Zimbabwean contemporary artists who have exhibited in Venice, or there are few contemporary Zimbabwean  artists that everyone knows. Being so close to the grand art market unsettles the  artists, as would happen if a hand full of kids would be sent to Rio to play in the world cup football. My position is detached from the art market, although I must confess, when living in Brussels, we were neighbours with Angel Vergara the artist who represented the French Community of Belgium at the 54th Venice Biennale. But when we spoke, it was never about art nor football.

 

HIFA 2014 day 4

May 4, 2014

Has any one written a good book about Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation (10,000,000%) from 1998-2009. Today when I speak to people they are still in shock. Pensions disappeared, savings lost, mortgages exploded and property reclaimed. Shop shelves empty. People drove for hours to neighbouring countries to buy food for family and friends. Those that did not have cars camped in front of shops and ATMs hoping for good news. If you had $10 US you could fly with Air Zimbabwe to China and back using the local exchange rate? A book like this would go down as fiction, it is beyond the logic of mankind.

At this time it is good to mention AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers link
Ivor Hartmann, editor says ”it enables African writers to envision a future from our African perspective.” And I would like to add it enables writers to tell their stories of unimaginable truths.

 

 

 

HIFA 2014 day 4
At the national galley, Calvin Dondo presents his book with Africalia.be
“Hodhii Zimbabwe. This book is a knock on the door of a stone house, a calling to open up and discover its inner mirror, an urge to show itself to the world and find more authentic rhetoric”

[personal note: is African art about problem solving using restriction methods?]

 

HIFA 2014 day 3

May 1, 2014

A month ago while preparing for a solo show in Harare, I was finishing off one of the sculptures. My chisel slipped off the wood and dug deep into my little finger. In the ER they told me I cut my tendon. The hospital staff on hearing I was an artist arranged the best hand and wrist surgeon in Holland to sew the two strands of tendon back together. The recovery will be long.

injured, cintiq digital drawing tabletMy 3d work clearly stopped, but with one hand I could still draw the Utsi Mutsies (that is what my son Mickey and I call these imaginary creations). I used a Cintiq digital drawing tablet drawing directly on the screen and so creating the prints for the show.

HIFA Day 3

In the morning I go to the first floor gallery,  known for its innovative programming, to hang up 2 rotating objects and 2 drawings. Yutaka Hirose and Yuki Kamiya come to visit the galley and Yutaka takes my photograph using a very large format camera for his 100s Zimbabwe project.

At 17:00 the show opens with a good crowd of people

detail of Terrence Musekiwa’s sculpture ‘fruit tree’

one-piece cold formed body featuring a black oxide finish

K_Van: one-piece cold formed body featuring a black oxide finish

HIFA 2014 day 2

April 30, 2014

HIFA 2014 is the 15th festival since its start in 1999. The arts festival is now the largest cultural event in Zimbabwe and is seen as a key contributor to the development of performing arts in southern Africa. The national gallery of Zimbabwe hosted two discussions in the morning. I would attend the ‘wind of change’ with Doron (AMBA), but mistakenly landed up in the other. The selected panel took turns to stand up and talk about their artistic projects and experiences. Bands using social media, a man using jet-set connections to promote his song in creative-industry style. The people attending were mainly performing artists or involved with organizing events and festivals (including team members of HIFA), so when the discussion opened up some great insight was given to the cultural climate of Zimbabwe.  For example unclear sponsorship deals, lack of quality, unjust expectations,  but foremost the lack of access to give cultural education.

While the discussion group went to have breakfast, Doron and I found the ‘wind of change’. A formal panel discussion,  with seats for Mr Chikukwa, Dr Bere, Mr Kangai, Mr Hwati, Mrs Sibanda, Mr Klinghofer, Dr Samwanda. Separating the panel group with a long table and a three meter gap sat we the audience, a few artists, press and collectors.
A point from the discussion: is contemporary Africa art ready for the art market as China was ‘discovered’ less than half a decade ago?
This year you will see the fashion industry inspired by Africa tribal objects and patterns. But this is not the same as the Chinese contemporary art. China has brought art to the world markets in order to boost the local value of their contemporary arts for speculators and investors in China. So there was no real incentive to sell art to the west, in contrary to African contemporary art that does not have much of a local market.  Further more, in Africa, as some of the panel members pointed out, there is little local awareness of contemporary African art  and the main priority should be to attend to nurture the local awareness  of African culture in Africa.

The discussion was ended with 2 pots of strong tea, and biscuits.

In the evening I attended the CABS opera Gala


Traditionally sponsored by CABS, a local banking group, and with it the traditional opera night. Best described as opera light for novices, a lot of small but well known pieces are sung.  http://gonexc.me/2014/05/01/hifa-2014-day-2/

HIFA 2014 day 1

April 29, 2014

HIFA is a 6-day  festival of popular culture in Harare. The first floor gallery of Harare recommended I should come to see the festival and participate in the group exhibition: Harare No Limits!

Harare’s contemporary artists create their vision of the city and its people.

HIFA week

The festival was kicked off in the national gardens behind the National gallery on Tuesday night by an opening event with dance and music, followed up by drinks and finger-food at the ABC Bank director’s tent. But before the drinks were served, the elite guests and special stake holders were assured that their bank accounts would soon be accessible after a technical hitch. Yet rumour has it that selected managers have had access to large loans that they are failing to repay resulting in the freezing of all banks transactions. This is Africa.

T.NDABAMBI | ZIMBOJAM.COM

T.NDABAMBI | ZIMBOJAM.COM

The next morning I returned to the National Gallery to unofficially attend the panel discussion the ‘wind of change: the new interest in contemporary art’. The panel would discuss how the global art market would focus its attention on Africa the way it had zoomed in on Chinese art less than a decade ago.
However I was ushered into the wrong room, and participated in a new exciting discussion….

 

 


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