A JOURNEY TO DISCOVER ART AND SUBURBS: the ARP art residency in Rome of SKUBALISTO and JORDAN SWEKE concluded

Public art has become in recent years not only an alternative form of expression, but also a real stage with which artists confront and dialogue. We no longer speak of a conflict between an artwork that is by definition donated to the community and an artwork that is born to be sold under the rules of the market: artists more and more often move freely between these two options, until a few years ago considered in antithesis. Rome offers several examples of public art: from the fantastic intervention by William Kentridge Triumphs & Laments on the Lungotevere banks under Ponte Sisto, to the SanBa project that designed San Basilio’s public housing according to a specific urban redevelopment project, to the spontaneous open-air gallery that is flourishing in Corviale  at the foot of the famous building called ‘Serpentone’, to arrive at interventions in the occupied realities such as the Tufello students’ house run by the Astra activists. ARP has made a journey to discover these realities together with the South African artists Skubalisto and Jordan Sweke participating in the residency in Rome in November and December 2017.

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Both artists chosen this year by the ARP-Art Residency Project (created by the Centro Luigi Di Sarro with the contribution of MAECI and with the collaboration of Everard Read/CIRCA and RainbowMediaNPO) have an interest in the investigation of urban reality, as well it is the gentrification of the peripheral areas or redevelopment planned by social and housing policies, or even fertile ground of public artistic commission. Their investigation of the Roman reality has therefore often turned to those areas that could offer fertile inspirations. In parallel to the study that led to the realization of the exhibition REALTA’ IMMAGINARIE/IMAGINING REALITIES that was held at the Centro Luigi Di Sarro (30th November-14th December 2017), the two artists also wanted to bet on the public art front, realizing some works in the Roman suburbs: in Corviale (where they worked thanks to the hospitality of Alessandro Fornaci and the Laborintus Association and to the Prenestino, in a center for asylum seekers, a place of high symbolic value. In these years there is much discussion about what to do and how to give meaning to interculture: Art is one of the most universal means of communication and friendship between people.

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In the middle of the walk of our life, I found myself in a dark forest … (Dante, The Divine Comedy, Hell)”,  the quote of the greatest Italian poet is not accidental and takes on meaning at the end of the long journey of meetings and crossings of routes that the two artists, guests of the ARP residence, have completed in the Capital. Jordan Sweke’s forest and the Skubalisto’s portraits tell of the past and the present. The immediate interest that both have shown for the urban socio-economic structure integrated with their artistic research has given rise to a very deep dialogue in their practice and with the inhabitants of the city. Dialogue that was realized with the final two-handed work performed in Corviale.

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IMAGINING REALITIES – SKUBALISTO and JORDAN SWEKE – 2017 November 30th/December 14th

 

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Jordan Sweke (1991) and Skumbuzo (Skubalisto) Vabaza (1987), from Cape Town to Rome thanks to ARP-Art Residency Project, will show their outlook on the City and its suburbs. People and landscapes, imagining realities: a journey that explores the present and the history of the Caput Mundi through various expressive media (painting, graphics and videos). The two South African artists produced artworks for this exhibition during the six-weeks residency period in Italy.

The ARP, a Bilateral Residency Programme for Young Artists between Italy and South Africa, is promoted by the CENTRO DI DOCUMENTAZIONE DELLA RICERCA ARTISTICA CONTEMPORANEA LUIGI DI SARRO and realized with the contribution of MAECI, Italian ministry of Foreign Affaires and International Cooperation, and with the collaboration of the Everard Read/CIRCA Gallery. In Cape Town, next February and March 2018, ARP will host italian artists Elena Giustozzi and Caterina Silva, selected to the residency programme, which will also see the collaboration of Ruth Prowse School of Art and Rainbow Media NPO.

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Skumbuzo’s narrative is multifaceted (including visual art, design, music and fashion), he often incorporates contemporary figuration, imbued traditional iconography and several urban ‘graffiti’ based languages. Skumbuzo’s work aims to break down the human experience to its very core in order to expose the man made social constructs that serve to separate. His work is a bridge illustrating commonalities of consumerism, industrialization, corruption, hope, family, heart break, race , nationality and religion. His graffiti background and street art influence become obvious with his abstract use of colours and stylistic figure painting technique.
Jordan works within notions of the landscape and the natural environment. He abstractly explores ‘nature’ – a sublime and all-encompassing force. More specifically, he explores the relationship which currently exists between humanity and nature and ways in which this relationship might be reconstituted. His main focus of production lies in large oil paintings, but a rounded conceptual framework is achieved through his creation of photographs, sculptures, video works, print media and installation.
Both these young Cape-Town-based creatives have come together in ARP Rome 2017/2018 for IMAGINING REALITIES. This presentation comprises separate artworks, as well as collaborative work resulting from merging conversations between the two artists. At the Centro Luigi Di Sarro, Skumbuzo’s portrait paintings (in various mixed media) and Jordan’s landscapes (monochrome drawings, canvas based paintings and video work) are installed alongside collaborative linocuts and paintings executed together while in Rome on the ARP Residency.
The relationship between people and their environments is one of the major themes of the exhibition. IMAGINING REALITIES aims to address the notions of each person’s ‘reality’- how they see the world, and in contrast what goes on unnoticed around us all. Skumbuzo’s and Jordan’s active conversations illustrate and imagine what is taking place for many, addressing ideas of ‘marginalized poverty and the many unseen inhabitants of Rome’. This speaks about relationships between foreigners and the Roman landscapes, and serves to address “the social impact of immigrants, and the realities that lie behind the idealised ways people frame what they see and live.”
Skumbuzo and Jordan exist within the organic creative frameworks that pulsate around them in Cape Town, and both artists have an ongoing interest in periphery spaces and working-class areas. The ARP experience in Rome has served to ignite a joint conversation about the peoples in Rome, their ‘landscapes’ and the city itself. Although both artists actively acknowledge that this is a social commentary from an outsider’s perspective, they too feel ‘there are ridges of social and cultural similarities between Rome and Cape Town, that they both had been addressing in Cape Town. By creating some mural artworks in Rome  both Skumbuzo and Jordan hope to reimagine the reality of what is present there. In addition to their social commentary, the artists have endeavoured to critique the juxtaposition between nature and urbanization: the kind of relationship the people in Rome have with their natural environments, and natural selves. The artists have observed there are ‘remnants of human artefacts in nature, nature is surviving in heavily built up spaces, nature it feels is versus the city, and humans are versus nature’. The artists explain: ‘Rome is like a big breasted mother who feeds the whole of Italy. All of Italy is in Rome, not just Romans. One can almost feel Rome struggling under the pressure’. IMAGINING REALITIES, investigates this reality too and gives scope to see the world re-examined and envisioned through Skumbuzo’s and Jordan’s synergistic discourse.

Emma Vandermerwe – Senior Curator Everard Read/CIRCA Cape Town

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ARP – Art Residency Project ITALY/SOUTH AFRICA 6th EDITION: Elena Giustozzi, Caterina Silva, Jordan Sweke and Skumbuzo Vabaza are the winners

ARP-ART RESIDENCY PROJECT, designed by Centro di documentazione della ricerca artistica contemporanea Luigi Di Sarro, aims to promote and support emerging artistic talent in Italy and abroad and is part of a wider network of actions that Centro Di Sarro does through bilateral cultural exchanges in the field of visual arts. The programme has a contribution of MAECI, Italian Foreign Affaires Ministry, and the collaboration of Everard Read/CIRCA Gallery Cape Town.

ARP aims to promote mobility and knowledge of new cultural realities through the experimentation of materials, techniques and languages in contemporary art. The 6-weeks residency offers the opportunity for new creative experiences and technical and professional training, a human and artistic comparison, the study of the social, political and cultural history of the hosting country.

    from left: Caterina Silva, Jordan Sweke, Skumbuzo Vabaza, Elena Giustozzi

Who are the 6th Edition between Italy and South Africa 2017/18 four winners:

ELENA GIUSTOZZI was born in Civitanova Marche (MC, Italy) in 1983.
After the diploma at Science high school, she enrolled at the Academy of fine arts in Macerata, Italy, where in 2008/2009 she obtained a Bachelor degree in decoration. In 2011/2012 she ends the Master degree in painting. Since 2013 is teaching assistant at the Academy of Fine Arts in Macerata: Painting Techniques (three years), Techniques and Technologies of Contemporary Visual Arts, Painting Techniques and Technologies Lab (Master degree course). Her selected project is Little Finite Landscapes. Different perspectives of landscape. “The perspective discloses to our eyes, not strained to the horizon like a parallel look to the ground, but cut and collected in a finite space. What do we look at? What are we listening to? The road that opens in front of us, the noise of our footsteps. My walks in the garden tell the story of the time that passes by, the seasons that follow one another, new but always the same, the earth that changes, transforms and deforms to then return to resemble every variation“.        www.elenagiustozzi.com

CATERINA SILVA (Rome, 1983) explores the links between power and language from often silent or pre-linguistic places in order to elude canonical structures of production of meaning. She studied sculpture in London (Camberwell College of Arts), philosophy and Scenography in Rome (La Sapienza, Ied). Her work ranges from painting to performance.  “I see my painting practice as a struggle with language and its classification’s systems. I use painting to probe at the obscure spaces of the mind, that which is impossible to explain in words but which exists and materializes into matter and then object. I create open images available to the interpretation of the observer, consequence of a process of deconstruction of my own internal superstructure carried out through the matter of painting itself and its translation into choreographic experiments and performances”. www.caterinasilva.com

 

JORDAN SWEKE (born 1991, Johannesburg. Lives and works in Cape Town) nel 2014 Bachelor and Honours in Fine Art, Specialising in Painting. Michaelis School of Fine Art. University of Cape Town, South Africa. Exploring and reflecting upon spatial perceptions within the natural world, Jordan Sweke aims to create “a marriage between the mathematical and the abstract, the geometric and the organic.” Working in a wide array of visual media including video, land art and urban installations, photography and oil paint on canvas, Sweke identifies each for its tactile emphasis of the material elements of his natural surroundings.The perceptions that result in his artworks transgress the usual prescribed concepts of the environment, and serve to challenge them. Fresh and uncompromising, his rendering ‘manages to reflect a Romantic beauty, a synthesis of life, death and the sublime’ and all serve to illustrate and redefine his audiences engagement and understanding of conceptual natural space.  www.jordansweke.com

 

SKUMBUZO VABAZA, popularly known as “Skubalisto” is a visual artist from Cape Town, South Africa. Skubalisto was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, (1987) where his parents had spent their twenties in exile. His mother was studying medicine and his father as an active member of the ANC. Who primarily creates portraits in a contemporary expressionist style, channeled through muralism, wood boards and canvas. His mediums range from spray paint, acrylic, oil pastel, charcoal and ink. Since his return to South Africa he has been touring on a quest to rediscover the landscape and a connection with his country through an artist’s eyes. “I am not a writer, painting is my weapon of choice. The makings of a true artist lie in the fact that an individual can create no matter what medium they use”.         skubalisto.tumblr.com

LEARNING CAPE TOWN – VALENTINA COLELLA – ARP 2017

ARP-Art Residency Project 2015-2017  is concluded.  The project, ideated by Centro Luigi Di Sarro in Rome now in collaboration with Everard Read Gallery Cape Town, began in 2009 and involved various important galleries as well as 13 artists. This fifth edition enjoys the contribution of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; in the period 2015-2017 the project’s activities increased, witnessing many young art enthusiasts as well as art students actively contributing to the residencies in Rome and Cape Town of the two winners of the selection, Valentina Colella for Italy and Zwelethu Machepha for South Africa. Young curators, art historians, photographers, videomakers and students of various disciplines collaborated with the two leaders of this exchange, the artists, through training contributions and the participation to meetings and workshops. It is because of this activity, considered of high cultural, Educational and social value, that ARP project was invited this year to take part to Cape Town Art Fair in the Cultural Platforms section, next to the most important South African non-profit organisations.
The final actions af the ARP project, which enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the Italian Consulate of Cape Town since the beginning, saw two conclusive events:
The exhibition at Everard Read Gallery Cape Town, “Learning Cape Town by Valentina Colella the italian artist, who was selected for a residency in the framework of ARP Project V Edition. Paintings, sculpures, photographs and video installation to celebrate the monthly artistic residency in the Mother City for the 32 years old italian artist from Introdacqua, a small village settled on the Appennino Mountains in central Italy.

16-31 March Valentina Colella Solo Show LEARNING CAPE TOWN Everard Read/CIRCA Gallery

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Saturday 25th March in Philippi the “INKCUBEKO YETHU ART EVENT” concluded the 2015-2017 edition of ARP Project.

This event, introduced for the first time in this 5th edition of ARP, will be held at TSOGA CENTRE in Samora Machel, Philippi. It was an ART DAY focussing on young and emerging artists, with music, art workshops for children, and theatrical drama. Special guests of the event – set up by RAINBOWMEDIA NPO and by the UBUNTUBETHU youth collective, which is also the force behind IQFM community radio – were the two ARP artists, Valentina Colella and Zwelethu Machepha (who created a site specific artwork interacting with the audience); during the day was also displayed, in the spaces of the Tsoga Centre, an exhibition of artworks selected among the entries for a call for U35 artists working and living in South Africa. The winner, selected by a jury of experts, received a cash prize delivered personally by the Italian Consul, Alfonso Tagliaferri.

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FOOTPRINTS by VALENTINA COLELLA – Everard Read/CIRCA Johannesburg

Exhibition/Event curated by the Centro Luigi Di Sarro and presented by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Pretoria in collaboration with Rainbow Media. Sponsor: HIP Hellenic Italian Portuguese Alliance – Italian Section e Associazione Abruzzo Sudafrica.
Thursday March 9, Circa/Everard Read Gallery, 6 Jellicoe Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg.

A visionary, hyperconnetted, contemporary dream. The Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Pretoria supports young italian artist in Sud Africa and present the exhibition/event titled FOOTPRINTS by VALENTINA COLELLA a collateral event of the bigger project ‘ARP – Art Residency Project 2015-2017’, by Centro Luigi Di Sarro in Rome, that has planned the residency of the artist in Cape Town for February and March 2017.

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The show is made up of three parts: the first one is focused on Abruzzo, Valentina Coltella’s homeland, and presents a video shot in Campo Imperatore; the second displays a multimedia piece in which a route is traced starting form her town, Introdacqua near Sulmona, up to the mountains till a shelter overlooking the Peligna Valley. Then the route is transferred on the map of the same town indicating some topical points, corresponding to some places which are fundamental for the local residents. Each of this points is accompanied by pictures with latitude and longitude coordinates so allow the visitors to locate the places on GPS. The third and last part is the pictorial one, composed by 9 works on paper with studies on essential forms of the earth, the sky and the flight between the two spaces.

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Valentina Colella is a concettual artist who expresses herself with different media, as paintings, drawings, installations, video and photos. After completing her studies, she started an in-depht analysis of scenarios referring to the concept of opposition intensified by the various tranfers from the reality to digital. She draws her inspiration from nature and the landscape surrounding her. That landscape is that of Abruzzo, so beautiful and wild, but deeply devastated by telluric episodes and unusual meteorological happenings in recent times. Colella exhibited her work in London, Cologne, Rome, Argentina, Taiwan. With her project “Learning”, Valentina has been selected for the ARP-Art Residency Project to a 6 week residency in Cape Town.

ARP-ART RESIDENCY PROJECT SHOWS AT CAPE TOWN ART FAIR

We are delighted to announce the arrival in Cape Town of Italian artist Valentina Colella, who was selected for a residency in the framework of ARP-Art Residency Project V Edition. The project, ideated by Centro Luigi Di Sarro of Rome in collaboration this year with Everard Read Gallery Cape Town, began in 2009 and involved various important galleries as well as 13 artists. This fifth edition enjoys the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation; in the period 2015-2017 the project’s activities increased, witnessing many young art enthusiasts as well as art students actively contributing to the residencies in Rome and Cape Town of the two winners of the selection, Valentina Colella for Italy and Zwelethu Machepha for South Africa. Young curators, art historians, photographers, videomakers and students of various disciplines collaborated with the two leaders of this exchange, the artists, through training contributions and the participation to meetings and workshops. It is because of this activity, considered of high cultural, educational and social value, that ARP project was invited this year to take part to Cape Town Art Fair in the Cultural Platforms section, next to the most important South African non-profit organisations.

We invite you to visit stand F13, where the artworks of all Italian and South African artists who took part until today to ARP project will be exhibited, and where it will be possible to find out more about all the events organized by ARP between now and the end of March.
Saturday 18th February from 11 until 3, artists Colella e Machepha will be at ARP’s stand to introduce themselves to CTAF visitors. At 2 pm, the Italian Consul in Cape Town, Antonio Tagliaferri, and the Director of the Italian Insitute of Culture of Pretoria, Anna Amendolagine, will be in conversation with the Project Director, Alessandra Atti Di Sarro, of Centro Luigi Di Sarro, about ARP project and its history. All artists and gallerists who took part to ARP exchanges in the last eight years have been invited to join and share their experiences.

ARP Project – Machepha’s Residency ended

 

Last hours in Rome for the 26 years old Zwelethu Machepha who ended his artistic residency within ARP – Art Residency Project, at the Centro Luigi Di Sarro he had the final interview by the filmmaker Angelica Farinelli which is building the documentary about the whole project. As location, the ‘virtual piazza’ that the big Machepha’s works had crowded into the central room of the exhibition space of the Center for Documentation of Contemporary Artistic Research in Rome. All around,  on the walls and the floor, the huge sheets spread out like the many figures who crowded the six weeks of meetings and emotions. After the opening, Machepha continued to visit the City. Together with Emanuele Meschini, who accompanied him throughout the period of the residency, he noted the different architectures of neighborhoods, as Eur, Flaminio, Historical centre, Villa Borghese. He visited the MAXXI, the Roman temple of contemporary art and the Auditorium Parco della Musica, the Colosseum and the archeological sites at the Foro Romano, and the Vatican Museums with the wonder of the Sistine Chapel.

Finally last week for the young South African artist even a day trip to Florence thanks to a meeting with the sculptor Nicola Rossini who drove in the cradle of the Renaissance, and accompanied him in the visit to the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence.

A millennial history summed up in a forty-five-day trip that probably will bear fruit in the coming months. “I will need time – said Zwelethu Machepha – to rework the multitude of informations and emotions that I got. If I think about it now, I feel just overpowered.” What will remain of the meetings, human and artistic exchanges, the wires stretched between worlds, definitely not so far, are some works created during the residency, one of which, entitled “Made in Rome” entered in the Centro Di Sarro collection. The ARP project is now preparing for the second phase. The team will travel to Cape Town, South Africa, to prepare for the arrival  of Valentina Colella, in February 2017.

COLONIAL GHOSTS – Zwelethu Machepha

Curated by EMMA VANDERMERWE

Colonial Ghosts at the Centro Di Sarro brings together the different mediums of drawing, painting and printmaking of the young South African artist Zwelethu Machepha. Machepha capturing  enthusiastically in both figurative and abstracted the intrinsic and intuitive histories and languages of a world around him. A pixilated and redefined language that is both simultaneously a commentary on the digitalized world around us but equally meticulous colors and patterns that could equate with his cultural heritage.

Most recent prints include the subtler elements of pure fluorescent white drawings on paper that contrasts with the larger scale multi-paneled monochrome and colorful paper works. These all explain the process of experimentation the artist works through. Originally based on literal renderings of his human subjects  (an example has been included in this exhibition as well), the essence of this humanity permeates through the exhibition. But as the artist moves forward in time the visual references are pared down to their abstracted ‘essence’. Responding to the vibrant urban spaces around him as one moves from room to room one can feel the presence of a human beings, as they gradually lose recognizable forms. Machepha explains he is trying to capture his identity  and his world as the global environment around us continues to accelerate to such a degree we lose all grounding and roots with what we know. The audience is able to experience this fractured nature in the drawings depending on how close you are to them. From across the room one can see the silhouettes of the forms and bodies, whilst up very close the identities and shapes lose all definition and become only intense lines and patterns.

Machepha includes near the end of the exhibition a small series of brand new oil paint etchings realized in Rome with the assistance of Alessandro Fornaci at Stamperia del Tevere. Recaptured here the nuisances of humanity but without the recognizable human form. This minimal narrative by Machepha touches upon a dissolving of identities and loss of figuration now is landscaped in Roman languages that impressed upon the artist in his residency.   (Emma Vandermerwe – Everard Read Gallery Cape Town)

see all the images on the  ARP INSTAGRAM DIARY