Young Guns curated by Andrew Lamprecht
Every generation is exposed to some ‘new kids on the block’: innovators and experimenters who challenge the assumptions and conventions of their elders. A ‘young gun’ is someone who embodies the spirit of moving forward and creating something new. This exhibition presents four artists who challenge assumptions, use new materials and develop artistic structures to address issues that are striking and pervasive in the age of the new millennium. Their work presents a challenge to the established order of art making.
Collin Sekajugo has a deep social consciousness and has devoted much of his life to initiating and developing community arts project in war-scarred regions of Africa. In the works on this exhibition, he utilizes a background on which he draws overlapping and multiplying lines that seem angry, grid-like and constraining all at the same time. But these supposedly abstract, even random marks have ghostly human forms emerging from the ‘chaos’. Upon this background, painted fragments, blocks and shards, each deeply coloured or marked out boldly, are carefully placed, compositionally standing apart and simultaneously held by tension in relation to each other, indicating fractured red human forms. This artist is deeply concerned with the inroads and erasures that susceptible and fragile cultures experience in the wake of dominant Westernisation. A form of cultural genocide ascribed the pressures of a conforming to ‘global culture’. This process obliterates histories, cultures and communities and replaces them with deeply wounded, dysfunctional simulations that try to fit in the narrow grooves of contemporary life, emptied of all that defined them.
Fractures, fragments and dislocated shards of images are juxtaposed and realigned in the dazzling compositions of Larry Amponsah. The artist consciously draws his material from popular culture, magazine fashion shoots and advertising. Simple images are given complexity and his summation of parts can be at time funny, scary, strange or familiar … but always in some deep way, profoundly and yet always and deeply moving.
Maliza Kiasuwa takes risks, breaks conventions, and utilises materials which might seem to be ephemeral or throwaway, such as flax, fibre or cloth, alongside materials such as wood and metal. Working on a comparatively large scale her paintings seem to offer a series of ‘windows’ into a landscape and layer that lies beneath the surface, both literally and metaphorically. It seems that the abstractionin her work is paired with a sort of concreteness that evades unequivocal recognition. Kiasuwa seems to present vignettes of an unfolding narrative contained and even constrained within the canvas’s four edges, yet defying all boundaries.
The artist’s background is multicultural and geographically sweeping, and to some extent, this ability to be located everywhere and somehow also nowhere makes her a global citizen who longs for a fixed place of her own.
Pablo Malik was raised for the first part of his childhood in Jamaica, which inspired him and anchored him culturally. Along with his parents, he immigrated to the United Kingdom as part of the waves of labour that the country was luring from its former colonies to fill jobs that could or would not be filled by the existing population. This geographical, social and cultural dislocation at a key time in his youth exposed him to intolerance and racism. Malik became deeply involved in the hip-hop music scene with its celebration of the mashup, unexpected juxtapositions and deep poetic rhythm. Sources that Malik chooses to draw from in his collages are eclectic, wide and culturally broad. The work he produces can be at times frightening, satirical, humorous, or socially responsive.
When taken together I would suggest that this risk-taking, rule-breaking and self-aware group of artists have a profound awareness of dislocation. They also transcendence this and find or make a space of stability in each work they produce.