Pangaea brings together the work of sixteen artists, ranging from internationally renowned to young artists, from Africa and Latin America. “Pangaea” refers to the pre-human landmass that once united Africa and Latin America, before it began to break apart 200 million years ago. These two very different nations were once a “supercontinent”.
Rafael Gómezbarros’s Casa Tomada(2013)
Rafael Gómezbarros’s Casa Tomada(2013) takes over the entirety of an otherwise empty room: 440 fiberglass ants adorn four white walls, each nearly a yard long, with six tantalizingly ticklish legs. These faceless and thankfully fangless insects might at first give the comic impression of scuttling in search of food. In fact, according to Gómezbarros, the ants address the plight of the millions of displaced persons across the world seeking asylum as a result of armed conflict.
‘Daloa 29’ (2011) by Aboudia
This happens again and again in Pangaea: the seemingly playful signifies something else unequivocally serious and real. In the second gallery space are seven acrylic and mixed media canvases by the young artist Aboudia. Aboudia, born in 1983 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, made the works in this series during the civil war of 2011. Taking refuge in an underground studio, he would venture outside to witness the destruction, firing back with paint in enraged visions of gun-toting skeletal figures in roiling, partly devastated landscapes. At first glance, all you see is noise; the works are covered with graffiti-like markings and splashed with vibrant color. Figures emerge from the chaos with child-like faces sporting big grins. Look harder, and beyond the big grins see the big teeth: the children are dressed in military uniforms and carry bright white guns. Aboudia’s canvases allude to child soldiers in the torn political state of his home in the Republic of the Ivory Coast. These scrawled kids toting sinister weapons evoke the violence in the aftermath of the 2011 elections in the former capital city of Abidjan.
‘Dark Americano’ (2012) by Oscar Murillo
The knocked about look of Oscar Murillo’s painting is deliberate – his works begin life on the studio floor, picking up footprints and grime before an idea is hatched and they get promoted to the wall. There’s a sense of displacement in canvases where words and phrases pinched from advertising meet dirt, dust and transient scribbles that recall the work of late Cy Twombly. Saatchi owns quite a few; he didn’t have to go far for this shopping spree. Born in Colombia 28 years ago, Murillo, a Royal College of Art graduate, has been based in London for the past few years.
News paper extract [Evening Standard]