Exhibition explores the politics of space and place

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Exhibition explores the politics of space and place
Felipe Arturo, Tropico Entropico, 2013 (Detail view). White and raw sugar. 390 x306 x 6cm. Installation at Lugar a dudas, Cali, Colombia. Photo courtesy of the artist.

MARRAKECH.- The Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Marrakech opens Have You Seen a Horizon Lately?, a group exhibition opening on 25 February 2020. Taking its title from a song by Yoko Ono, the exhibition explores the politics of space and place and is an invitation to see and know the world differently. The exhibition features work from a selection of emerging and established international artists including Yoko Ono (USA), Kapwani Kiwanga (Canada-France), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria) and Amina Benbouchta (Morocco) and is curated by Marie-Ann Yemsi. Through a variety of media and with several new commissions, Have You Seen a Horizon Lately? sees participating artists question their lived environment in a sensitive and committed way.

Whether inspired by architecture, urban archaeology and landscape or personal geographies in relationship to the body and history, the work of these contemporary artists resonates strongly with some of the most pressing issues in the world today. Questions around ecology, the unequal distribution of wealth and power, the colonisation of territories, situations of oppression, and fixed and reductive conceptions of identity are all themes explored in the exhibition.

Reflecting on their own histories, a number of artists use their surroundings as a departure point. Maxwell Alexandre draws inspiration from his life in the Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro to create a complex and committed narrative around a tense Brazil. His in-situ installation of paintings on brown paper created for MACAAL addresses social, cultural and political issues. Akira Ikezoe’s paintings reflect on the experience of navigating cultural differences between typical depictions of “East” and “West”. His paintings present figures, known as Coconut heads , which reflect on themes of cultural misconceptions and socio-economic power imbalances. Farah Al Qasimi probes folklore, rituals and customs of the United Arab Emirates where she spent her childhood.

Kiluanji Kia Henda’s video installation looks at urban and architectural elements of his hometown of Luanda, engaging with the colonial past of Angola and the African continent. Kapwani Kiwanga looks at the archive as a historical, political and symbolic power, demonstrated in her “Flowers for Africa” series. Artist and architect Felipe Arturo’s practice looks at urbanism in relation to politics, history and geography. His work is deeply influenced by vernacular architecture and the construction and production techniques that resist colonial and post-colonial processes. An anthropological interest in the living conditions of minorities is explored in Daniel Otero-Torres’ work. Lluvia , his impressive installation presented at MACAAL is the result of his encounters with the Emberá community, where he studied their system for decontaminating polluted water. Gaëlle Choisne addresses issues of disaster, the exploitation of resources and the remains of colonialism in a dynamic video installation.

Many of the artistic projects in Have You Seen a Horizon Lately? call for resistance. For example, Amina Benbouchta’s work references the challenges of living as a woman in public and private, questioning how to position oneself in a structured, male-dominant world. Rahima Gambo explores the narrative of "walking", female bodies, psycho-spiritual-geography, urban environment and autobiography through documentary storytelling. Sandrine Pelletier is inspired by the expression of raw energy, pushing the limits of materials such as wood, glass and metal; a material metamorphosis the artist likens to a “reified rite of passage”. Throughout her career, Yoko Ono has maintained a deep faith in art’s ability to transform and uplift. For this exhibition, she presents a text-based work inviting viewers to grasp the tumultuous landscape of the world.

The exhibition is curated by Marie-Ann Yemsi who works alongside scenographer Franck Houndegla. Conceived as a poetic journey where one theme leads through to another, the exhibition creates a network of interlinking positions and considerations, showing art’s unique ability to question our limits and challenge our perceptions.

Have You Seen a Horizon Lately? is accompanied by an extensive educational and cultural programme including school visits, curator-led tours, talks, encounters and screenings.

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