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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

WATCH THE VIDEO

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

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

 

.

 

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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