Power & Rights
Contemporary art from East & West Africa
Seven artists from Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and Burkina Faso explore rights and power in their various forms.
Suzanne Ouedraogo from Burkina Faso, who during a period of her life completely stopped painting, as her husband saw her artistic activities to be in line with prostitution, is concerned with emotions and power in personal relations, human weaknesses, as selfishness, pride, and envy. She paints with violence, aggression and with harsh colours, and completely avoids anything decorative.
Her compatriot, Salifoura deals with concepts such as selfishness, ignorance, the survival of nature as well as that of the individual. His paintings centre on a quest for harmony and the sustainable symbiosis between heaven and earth, and man and nature. Salifoura’s artistic and philosophical challenge rests at the intersection of the attractions of modern day society and its short-sighted misuse of the earth’s resources. Salifoura has an ability to create harmony and coherence in his paintings, where portals and doorways often figure as a symbol of the hope inherent in the unknown and undetermined on the other side.
Sawadogo’s paintings are filled with phantoms and translucent figures, which float in the air as a heat shimmer. His paintings often portrays a warm haze and dryness through a conscious use of colours like ochre, umbra and sienna and his intricate watercolours speak of people, culture and refinement. He paints with inks, acrylics and natural pigments, bought from local women who make a living by selling earth and stones to contractors and builders. Buying his pigments from these women is one way in which he feels he can contribute to the fight against poverty at the local level. Sawadogo has an uncanny ability to portray the beauty of Africa without making it trivial. Through his unique style he presents viewers with richness and grace that is often overlooked in the stories told about Africa.
Bertiers from Kenya is very concerned with social, political and economic issues in Kenya and abroad, and his paintings of celebrities, national and global events are characterised by his sharp wit and humour. His penchant for news and international events has been a source of inspiration for his painting. Even before he had travelled outside Kenya - national and international events from newspapers, TV and radio were dealt with by his witty brush. The fools, charlatans, lovers, and politicians that make up Bertiers’ work all speak of his witty perception and portray a social commentary that can be recognised by all.
Abushariaa from Sudan fled the country when the military took over in the early 1990s. The Regime banned writers and artists to express themselves or express concern about the 20-year long war in Southern Sudan or the genocide of the Nubian people. In his own characteristic style Abushariaa shows us his deep concern over the human tragedy in Darfur, but also his longing for his homeland.
Nadir Tharani is a practising architect. His drawings ‘Positions of Power: article 9’, refers to The Declaration of Human Rights, and are a series of 14 drawings on the arbitrary detention, harassment, beating, lashing, torture and imprisonment of those who are seen as not conforming to the strictures of power - from fruit hawkers, children at school, voters, passengers, dreamers, strollers, to those who seek a more equitable life for all.
And finally there is Ehoodi Kichapi from Kenya, who acquires much of his inspiration from the late painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. Ehoodi Kichapi worked initially as a cartoonist, but it was through his work with street children and mentally ill that he was inspired to paint. He works with the human psyche and he wants to present the world honestly, the good as well as bad. About his paintings, he says: "They are best in a gallery, where you can walk away. Some of them I would not like to have in my own house”.
The exhibition is organised by thorupART and curated by Tine Thorup and Cuong Sam. The exhibition was first shown at Birkerød Art Society in January 2010.
Selection from the exhibition
The exhibition at Brøndsalen, Copenhagen
The exhibition at Birkerød Kunstforening
2013 Dates & Locations
30th Jan- 17th Feb : Copenhagen
Brøndsalen, Frederiksberg Runddel
2012 Dates & Locations
1st April - 12th May: Aalborg
Galleri Stenseminde, Brorholtvej 36, 9430 Vadum, Northern Jutland
3rd - 25th March : Haderslev
Haderslev Museum, Dalgade 7
1st - 23rd January : Korsør
Kongegaarden, Algade 25
2011 Dates & Locations
4th - 13th November : Fredericia
Kulturhuset, Kongensgade 111
5th - 30th September : Lolland
April : Fåborg
Konservesgaarden, Østergade 45
12th - 27th February : Frederiksværk
Ågalleriet, Hans Futtrups Sti 3
10th - 31st January : Brøndbyøster
kulturhuset Kilden, Nygårds Plads 31
The Association of
Danish Arts Societies
With support from Danida’s development communication