ABOUT THE FAIR
Unseen Amsterdam 2019
Galerie Ron Mandos proudly presents work by Mohau Modisakeng (b.1986, Soweto, South-Africa), Neo Matloga (b.1993, South-Africa), and Marwan Bassiouni (b.1985, Morges, Switzerland).
In his practice, Mohau Modisakeng confronts collective trauma, geographical displacement and the socio-political and cultural implications of Africa’s violent colonial history. In his newest works from the Land of Zanj series, Modisakeng inquires the history of slavery between East Africa and the Gulf area. The artist’s exploration into this history is a response to his personal background; an attempt to further understand the intricacies of South Africa’s post-Apartheid and post-colonial present.
In the context of the South African liberation struggle, the idea of a promised land has been expressed through the notion of Azania; or the idea of a nation that was meant to rise from the ashes of colonialism and Apartheid. The term Azania, meaning the land of blacks or the land of Zanj, thus encapsulates the desires of the African diaspora to return from exile and rebuild their home on African soil. The powerful portraits of Baheberu (‘Hebrew’) refer to a people that will someday, after the exodus, establish a new kingdom.
Mohau Modisakeng (SA, 1986) is based in Johannesburg and Cape Town, where he received his education at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. He won the SASLO New Signatures Award and the Standard Bank Young Artists Award and represented his country at the Venice Biennale in 2015 and 2017. He has presented work at Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town; Saatchi Gallery, London; Dak’Art Biennale; Sharjah Biennial; PERFORMA17, New York and many more signi cant international institutions. He recently was commissioned to create a memorial for Nelson Mandela, which will be revealed in Amsterdam Zuidoost’s Nelson Mandelapark in 2020.
For his photographic series New Dutch Views, Marwan Bassiouni traveled across the Netherlands through polder landscapes and industrial areas; from small villages to densely populated inner cities. There he captured typical Dutch landscapes through the windows of more than seventy different mosques. Bassiouni’s razor-sharp photos suggest a different way of looking at Islam in the West. At the same time, he shows a society in which different cultures clash and co-exist, symbolizing the artist’s bicultural identity and the emergence of a new Western-Islamic identity.
Marwan Bassiouni (CH, 1985) is a Swiss-Egyptian-American photographer with an interest in contributing to ongoing dialogues on Islam in Western society. Bassiouni is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and a recipient of the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Student Grant, the Harry Pennings Prize and several other awards. In May 2019, Bassiouni published his first book New Dutch Views and had his first solo exhibition at The Hague Museum of Photography with this series.
Although the subject matter of Neo Matloga’s canvases is domestic – daily life in black households in the artist’s native South Africa – they often have the epic scale of 19th century history paintings. Like his use of primarily black, white and grey palette, or the way he titles most of his works in his mother tongue, Sepedi, this decision is not without its political connotations, or its ambiguities. On the vast, charcoal and ink wash stages, Matloga’s cast of characters play out every-day dramas, experiencing the struggles and consolations of desire and intimacy. Above all, the people in his canvases are as he says, ‘moral agents’, however much socio-economic and political conditions shape life outside (and, indeed, inside) the four walls of their homes.
Neo Matloga (ZA, 1993) is an upcoming South African artist, who lives and works in Amsterdam. There he completed a two-years residency program at De Ateliers. In 2018, Matloga won the Koninklijke Prijs voor Schilderkunst. The jury for the Royal Award called him a “storyteller with guts.” Earlier this year, Matloga was also nominated for the Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs 2019. Matloga’s work is included in several renowned collections, including those of Zeitz MOCAA, KRC Collection, and the Fries Museum, where he currently has a large solo exhibition called Neo to Love.