SANTANDER. The Marcelino Botín Foundation
is presenting until September, at its center in Villa Iris in Santander, the exhibition Intimate Geographies, which aims to show contemporary African art through the proposals of six creators from the continent who explore their identity through time.
The exhibition gathers a wide variety of creations: videos, photographs, installations, prints, drawings, collages, made by African artists Nabil Boutros (Egypt, 1954), Viyé Diba (Senegal, 1954), Samuel Fosso (Cameroon, 1962), Wiliam Kentridge (South Africa, 1955), Robin Rhode (South Africa, 1976) and Tarek Zaki (Saudi Arabia, 1975).
The curator of the exhibition, Danielle Tilkin, explained at a press conference that Intimate geographies is not presented as a thematic exhibition, but that it aims to show a reflection on the existing dichotomy between what can be seen and what cannot, in the cartographies which each of the artists create in their works.
Nabil Boutros (b. Cairo, 1954) lives in Paris, where he studied at the art academy. He has close ties with the land of his birth, and for almost fifteen years now he has been photographing various aspects of Egyptian society. For instance, he has done photo essays on Egyptian music, Cairo nights, and Egyptian cafes. With COPTS OF EGYPT Boutros offers a visual report on the life and traditions of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.
Viyé Diba is a respected professor at the National School of Fine Arts in Dakar, and an internationally acclaimed artist whose work has been seen in many exhibitions, galleries, and museum collections in Africa, Europe, and the United States. Diba is deeply interested in the media with which he works. He takes locally woven strips of cloth ordinarily used for shrouds, and sews them together as his canvases. He mixes paints with sand and other local substances to add color and texture. He begins with or adds recycled materials to works that fuse painting with sculpture. As he explains, he wishes to "aggress" the media he uses, to stretch and stress them to see what they can endure, and what their endurance can then convey. He is a very convivial, sincere, and generous person; through his teaching and professional arts activities, he has become a force in local and regional cultural organizations and activities. In particular, his living room and his inner courtyard are salons where local and visiting artists congregate to discuss the nature of art, the spiritual values of creativity, and gossip of the hour.
Samuel Fosso is one of the most renowned and prodigious young African photographers. His fantastical portraits of different types of people - from African Chiefs to American women - are revealed, upon closer inspection, to be self-portraits. A witty and ironic exploration of self-identity, Fossos work has been shown in major global venues such as the Photographers Gallery in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in April 1955, where he continues to live today. In 1976 he graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with majors in Politics and African Studies. From 1976 to 1978 he was a student at the Johannesburg Art Foundation, where he taught etching for two years thereafter. During 1981 and 1982 he studied mime and theatre at the École Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Kentridge has worked extensively in theatre as an actor, designer, and director, and was a founding member of the Junction Avenue Theatre Company. In 1989 Kentridge created his first animated film in the Soho Eckstein, Felix Teitlebaum series, titled "Johannesburg 2nd Greatest City After Paris". In 1992 he staged his first theatre project in conjunction with Handspring Puppet Company, "Woyzeck on the Highveld".
Tarek Zaki (b. 1975, Riyadh) is an Egyptian visual artist born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who lives and works in Cairo. He graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from Helwan University, Cairo, in 1998. Zaki has exhibited at Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland; the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo; De Appel, Amsterdam; Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; and the Roemer-und Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim. He is currently in residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York.