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 2014 – NOT a LINE (a shadow line) – Paolo Baraldi a Cape Town

NOT a LINE (a shadow line)
A project by Paolo Baraldi selected for the Artistic Residency in Cape Town, South Africa, September 1- October 15 2014

The second edition of the Italo-South African artist’s residency exchange programme, facilitated by the Centro Luigi Di Sarro, Rome Italy and SMAC Art Gallery is marked by the arrival of Italian artist Paolo Baraldi in Cape Town. This follows on Paolo Bini’s visit to Cape Town from September to October2013 and South African artist Jake Aikman’s visit to Rome from May to June 2014. The Art Residency Project in South Africa is supported by the Consulate of Italy in Cape Town and the South African Embassy in Italy.

PAOLO BARALDI will be living and working on a specific project in Cape Town for a period of 30 days, after which , he will present a solo exhibition at SMAC Art Gallery in Cape Town. The project “Not A Line (a shadow line)” is an urban art intervention, focused on and projected onto the grid map of the new MY CITY bus route in Cape Town which has revolutionized public mobility in Cape Town. The title “Not a Line”, in its literal sense is relevant as the map or network of bus routes is far from linear. Baraldi also sees the movement of people as a form of human exchange. My City buses concurrently run through the well-known tourist spots, and the various suburbs of the city. Each bus stop will represents a new discovery and encounter for the artist with places, people, situations and images which he aims to reproduce in shadow form, creating a body of work which is both a social survey and study in urban ethnography.

Paolo Baraldi describes the project in Cape Town as follows:

Drawing, photography and engraving, are steps in a process of memorization: the faces, the lives, the lights and shadows of people who might meet in my experience will be stored and played back in memory.

This project fits into the body of work which I have been developing around public spaces over the last few years, in Bilbao (Spain), Tampere (Finland), Rome and Bergamo (Italy). Recurring themes and devices in my work are issues surrounding equality, as well as highlighting the acquiescence and complicity of the individual to change appearance within the public context, reflecting a specific visual and cultural aspect, which is provoked and encouraged through artistic intervention. The extent and nature of these interventions relaxed or intensified, depending on the context.”

The timing of the project coincides with various initiatives surrounding the City of Cape Town as World Design Capital for 2014, and the conceptual basis of the project aligns itself with this theme: artistic intervention and urban intervention are interrelated and connected as tools in contemporary new social planning. In recent years, there has been increased criticism and concern about commercial art practices and the art market which stifles creativity and authenticity in artistic production and there is a move back towards a vision of art which is more closely linked to the creative act, where the artist is an interlocutor, engaging with its audience, operating from within an open/public space.

Paolo Baraldi will also have a live workshop with the photography and graphics students from the “Ruth Prowse School of Art” based in Woodstock working with them at the near My City bus stop.