On 2 April, the Saatchi Gallery in London will open Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America.
Taking its title from the prehistoric landmass that conjoined Africa and Latin America, this major survey reunites the two former sister continents by bringing together the work of 16 of their contemporary artists, including two South Africans.
The exhibition celebrates and explores the parallels between their distinctly diverse cultures and creative practices, as they begin to receive recognition in the increasingly globalised art world.
In Europe and the USA, art has typically advanced through a constant renewal of innovative ideas and movements. We are now experiencing an important global shift as artists seek to explore new art in regions outside their immediate geographical and historic context for inspiration.
The desire by artists and their audiences to discover fresh influences from a broader body of work has inspired the recent preoccupation of museums to broaden their Eurocentric collections.
Against this backdrop, the artists in Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America, respond to present day complexities in diverse and innovative ways. Years of colonial rule, rapid urban expansion, migration and political and economic unrest remain subjects for many of the artists whose reflections on the richness of their environment translate into an intense visual experience.
This seems to be a particularly interesting moment to see what artists from both these regions are making at a time when we’re experiencing an important shift.
The newly forged commercial and political alliances and the increasing ease of international communication and transportation has enabled artists, collectors and audiences to look at a broader body of work from countries which have previously been considered on the periphery of the art world but have slowly begun to be part of an international narrative. The range of works in the show is extremely varied, with artists reflecting on their immediate cultural and political surroundings, broaching a wide variety of topics which include years of colonial rule, rapid urban expansion and political and economic unrest.
Highlights from the show include work by South African artists David Koloane and Dillon Marsh. David Koloane was one of the founding members of the first black gallery in South Africa located in Johannesburg, and in 1998 he was honoured by the Government of the Netherlands with the Prince Claus Fund for his contribution to the development of art in South Africa. His work explores the idea of space and the frantic buzz of daily life – commuting, protests, traffic and intimate corners that make up the city. In the past he has described the Apartheid as politics of space in which people were denied the right to move and his work evokes the restless speed and confusion of a complex socio-political landscape.
Cape Town’s Dillon Marsh photographs nests built by Social Weaver birds on electricity poles in the Kalahari desert. The nests are reminiscent of giant haystacks, can grow to over 20 feet wide by about 10 feet tall and can be occupied by hundreds of sociable weavers at a time. The artist spent three days in the desert searching for and photographing these incredible nests.
PANGAEA: NEW ART FROM AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA2 April – 31 August 2014Details on www.saatchigallery.com