• ‘The Intersection of Sight and Sound’ | Cape Town, South Africa

    South African musician and visual artist Caitlin Mkhasibe’s creative work can be found at the intersection of sight and sound.  Emergent Art Space has previously featured her work, and we were thrilled to catch up with her again in May during the ‘Synesthesia and the Student’ virtual symposium. We learned about the latest iteration of her growing body of work inspired by investigations into synesthesia, and the three new pieces made in response to varied landscapes and sonic environments.  Here, she shares her artwork and symposium video presentation that include field recordings and documentation of her compelling research, influences, explorations and creative strategies.

     

    Artist Statement


    Caitlin Mkhasibe, created three monochromatic artworks for the May 2022 ‘Synesthesia and the Student’ virtual symposium, hosted by the International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists and Scientists (IASAS). As a form of simulated/ synthetic synesthesia, two of the artworks were created outdoors, in Cape Town, South Africa. Mkhasibe used mark-making to mimic the expansive and meditative sounds of nature and its textures. The works’ mediums consist of charcoal, chalk, vegan acrylic paint and ink, brush, masking tape and gel pen on 300 gsm Hahnemuhle paper.

    Sonic Portrait of the Sea | 2022 | Sand, charcoal, vegan ink & acrylic paint, chalk, brush on paper | 59.4 cm x 42 cm
    Sonic Portrait of the Mountain | 2022 | Charcoal, vegan ink, chalk, brush on paper | 59.4 cm x 42 cm

     

     

     

    The two outdoor works are titled, Sonic Portrait of the Sea (2022), done at Kreeftebaai / Crayfish Beach, and Sonic Portrait of a Mountain (2022), done at Silvermine Nature Reserve. These artworks used expressive, abstract marks, rather than figurative representation. The field recordings accompanying these pieces were played in Mkhasibe’s video presentation as part of the ‘Synesthesia and the Student’ symposium. Her talk also included accompanying photographs of the natural spaces, the artist working on her visual response while there and close-up images of the final artworks.

    Drone Day Sound Work by Caitlin Mkhasibe & helo samo | 2022 | Charcoal, vegan ink & acrylic paint, chalk, brush, gel pen, masking tape on paper | 59.4 cm x 42 cm

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The third artwork made for the symposium is a visual representation of a collaborative sound work done with artist, helo samo, for this year's global Drone Day event, coinciding on 28 May 2022. SenSA (Sonic Exploration Southern Africa) created a compilation of participating musicians, which was live-streamed on Hamsack Radio on the day of the event.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ‘Synesthesia & the Student’ Theme


    Since high school, Mkhasibe has been a drummer and during her studies at the Michaelis School of Fine Art (at the University of Cape Town) from 2012 – 2015, she was curious about ways of merging sound with visual art. She is not a synaesthete but learned of simulated synesthesia while doing her own research on the intersection of sight and sound.

    Neil Harbisson, the first self-acclaimed cyborg, has an implant that reads colour as sound to help navigate his colour blindness and that was of interest to Mkhasibe. With the help of guest lecturer, Niek de Greef, Mkhasibe then did a web-based project where Harbisson’s favourite ‘sounding’ artworks were displayed as he sees them, in black and white, and when the viewer hovered over them with a mouse, they could hear the tones of the various colours. Even though Harbisson is sighted, the choice of focusing on the auditory and how his lifestyle might differ from Mkhasibe’s as a visual artist, was intriguing to Mkhasibe, where, for example, Harbisson chose outfits that ‘sounded’ good.



    With this inspiration in mind and after attending an artist presentation by James Webb (a South African artist who creates sound installations) at the art school. Mkhasibe then further created monochromatic sound art during her time at university, notably, Lowest Hearing Frequency Range (2013). Using water and light cymatics, Mkhasibe made a video response to the low vibrations animals hear that are inaudible to humans. The installation was displayed at group exhibitions, such as, ‘Bring Your Own Beamer’ (2014) at Brundyn+ Gallery in Cape Town, ‘Translations’ (2015) on Emergent Art Space, and in 2016 at the Nandalal Bose Gallery in the Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in India. In 2015, as part of her Michaelis School of Fine Art’s, ‘Grad Show’, exhibition titled, And then there was a Subterraneous Hum, with special thanks to Matt Jones, Mkhasibe created an installation on noise pollution in the ocean. Videos of her illustrations were displayed in a room where you could sing to a whale and it would sing back. In 2015, Mkhasibe was one of eight drummers recorded for Untitled (with the sound of its own making) – a solar powered, multi-channel loudspeaker system and audio as part of James Webb’s two solo exhibitions titled, ‘Ecstatic Interference’ (2016), at Blank Projects in Cape Town and ‘We Listen for the Future’ (2016), at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Leeds.

    Film photograph (left) by Charl Fourie | @kameragraaf

    While studying, Mkhasibe played in a band, Morning Pages, doing two live performances a month. The performances were soundscapes to projected video and stop-motion visuals created internally which mattered more than the musicians’ visibility to the audience. Until the Covid19 pandemic, Morning pages played at various exhibitions, theatres and live music venues in South Africa.



    For more information on Caitlin Mkhasibe: https://linktr.ee/caitlinmkhasibe
  • ‘Transitions and Transformations’ | Venice, Italy | April-Nov. 2022

    'The Constant Flux of our Personal Structures'

    Panoramic view of the exhibition

     Artist, EAS Advisory Board member and Art Professor Geraldine Ondrizek from Reed College in Oregon curated the international show 'Transitions and Transformations: The Constant Flux of our Personal Structures', which is included in the sixth edition of  'Personal Structures', a biennial contemporary art exhibition hosted by the European Cultural Centre in Venice, Italy. This group show, with 13 participating artists, is a collateral event of the Venice Biennale and includes the work of three artists, featured below, from the EAS international community of emerging artists: Sai Blank from Yangon, Myanmar; Jayeti Bhattacharya from Kolkata and Vikrant Kano from New Delhi, India. Their work on exhibit includes artist books, videos, prints and digitally archived photographs that poetically respond to political turmoil, violent repression, and their human impact.


    'The first 100 Hours’ by Geraldine Ondrizek, installation, artist book and video

     

    Curator's Statement

    This exhibition focuses on the internal and external forces that transform each of our ‘Personal Structures’. Each body of work presented takes an empathic look at the genetic, physical and psychological effects that our shifting reality has on us. The work in the exhibition is documentary-based and made with/and/or by with those in transition, or showing the effects of transformations.

    EAS wall: works by Sai Blank, Jayeti Bhattacharya and Vikrant Kano

    The exhibition is organized into three sections; Biological Factors: works concerned with issues of genetics
    and epigenetics on our physical and psychological selves; Environmental Factors: works showing the effects of climate change on the landscape and human livelihoods; Socio-Political Factors: works documenting and responding
    to forced immigration, indigenous identity and homelessness. Situating Geraldine Ondrizek’s work documenting human gestation, The First 100 Hours on the back wall of the exhibition space, gives context to the other works. Ondrizek’s work chronicles the most important period of human genetic development.

    The ability for all human life to survive and thrive in these first 100 hours depends on biological, environmental and socio-political factors. Our 'Personal Structures' are continually changed by our encounters with the elements, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the plants and animals surrounding us. These chance encounters both make and reform us. All the works in this exhibition make visible the often invisible or under-recognized circumstances that cause the transformation to our individual genetic structures.

    Artist book by Vikrant Kano and Trails of Absence video by Sai Blank

    This project is a collaboration with the network of artists, scientists, and socio-political activists, many of whom were students of Ondrizek who has taught at Reed College over the last twenty nine years. The artists represented in this exhibition are from diverse backgrounds and geographic locations. They are addressing pressing issues that have affected their personal lives. These works show not only difficult situations, but emphasize the metamorphosis and the resilience of living organisms and ecosystems. The exhibition, presented in two parts is on view at the Palazzo Bembo in Venice.

    Part I: April 23 - July 25 /  Part II:  August 1 - November 27, 2022.


    Sai Blank / Myanmar

     

    Trails of Absence

    Sai's ongoing work follows the political turmoil that has engulfed Myanmar since the coup of 2021 and specifically the trauma inflicted on his own family, exploring the dramatic narrative of the relationship between his father, who has been held as a political prisoner by the Burmese junta since the coup, and his mother, who lives under 24 hour surveillance and in constant fear. His father is one of 8,835 arrested, charged or sentenced political prisoners. Political leaders, activists, protesters and their families are presently being arrested, tortured and killed by Myanmar Military.

    Trails of Absence by Sai Blank, archival digital print

    Sai Blank is a young artist, curator and peace educator from Myanmar. On February 1st, 2021, a military coup took power in the country, destroying the rising democracy of the previous several years. Mass demonstrations, from all sectors of society, protested the coup. They lasted days, weeks and months, showing enormous courage in the face of the violent repression. Most former members of the National League for Democracy were arrested, subjected to farce trials and sent to prison, where they are still today. Sai saw the end of his personal freedom and the shattering of hopes for his country. Sai is likely to return to Myanmar soon where prison or death awaits.


    Jayeti Bhattacharya  / India

     

    Interference: Where Do We Belong...  

    Jayeti has developed a body of drawings conceptualized around the idea of how external forces cause disruptions in the normal course of events. The artist used this concept to represent how certain political and social decisions affect the lives of the commoner without their consent. Referencing the Partition of India along religious lines (Hindu and Muslim) in 1947, which her family witnessed, she created the drawings in the form of waves of motion, movement and migration. People who were once the owners of their own home and land suddenly had nowhere to go. The oral narratives of the past are still present in her mind, together with today’s political scenario, pushing her to create the forms and lines which are nothing but the resultant waves caused by the interference.

    Interference: Where Do We Belong...  by Jayeti Bhattacharya, 4 drawings, graphite, watercolor and typed text on Fabriano Rosaspina

    Jayeti Bhattacharya lives and works in Kolkata, India. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Kala Bhavana University, Santiniketan in 2014. She is now represented by Terrain.art Gallery in New Delhi where she had her first solo show ‘Shifting Coordinates’.  Her work has been included in local and international exhibitions.


    Vikrant Kano / India

     

    In Search of Home

    Vikrant's work is representative of violence, struggle, and necessity. India's partition along religious lines (Hindu and Muslim) in 1947, immediately after the independence from British rule, resulted in mass migration which often turned violent. People were forced to leave their ancestral houses and migrate to another land overnight, with complete uncertainty of their future, experiencing a state of forced 'homelessness'. His work documents his family’s path of relocation and displacement, an almost perpetual and physical state of being in transit. He follows an archival process, where he traces the footsteps of his paternal family through 'physical' objects. It is a process of attaching and linking a sentimental chain of memories to the present through these physical entities, to stress the ethereal and ephemeral.

    In Search of Home by Vikrant Kano, video still

    Vikrant Kano lives and works in Delhi, India. He completed his BFA (2016) and MFA (2018) at College of Art, Delhi. His art practice centers around the ‘‘idea of home’’ through the investigation of his family's history & archives. He explores erasure, migration, separation and human relationships with architecture and memory.


     

     

     

    Emergent Art Space is a non-profit, international organization that connects and supports young artists from around the world to advance communication and understanding across cultures.

    Visit:  www.emergentartspace.org
    Contact:  emergentartspace@gmail.com


     

     

     

    Artists represented here are included in the 'Transitions and Transformations: the Constant Flux of Our Personal Structures' by Geraldine Ondrizek, Reed College Alumni and Associates.  The exhibit is made possible with the support of The Oregon Arts Commission, The Ford Family Foundation, Reed College, and Emergent Art Space.


     

     

     

     

     

    Transitions and Transformations: The Constant Flux of Our Personal Structures is included in the sixth edition of 'Personal structures', a biennial contemporary art exhibition hosted by the European Cultural Centre in Venice, Italy from April 23 – November 27, 2022.

     

     

  • ‘Generative Multilogue’ | Art ExpoChicago, April 7-10, 2022

    Emerging artists from the Middle East converge at the Art ExpoChicago

    Walking around the hundreds of booths at this year ArtExpo Chicago, where galleries from 25 countries around the world are proudly showcasing the most recent works by their artists, and trying to find a path while surrounded by the crowd in a multicolored scene worthy of an Almodovar's movie, one would run across an unexpected sign, "Generative Multilogue".  What is a 'multilogue', and what does it generate?  Inside the booth, another unusual sign stands high on the wall, "Intersection of Creativity, Dialogue and Technology".

    It is the word 'dialogue' that mostly stands out.

    Large oil paintings, small photographs, an intriguing sculpture and an NFT collection of five works, all by women, stand side by side while people at the booth meet, connect, and engage in animated conversations.

    The Generative Multilogue booth, April 8-9, 2022

    The unusual event has been put together by Narimon Safavi, an Iranian American art promoter, who believes in the possibility of "dialogue through art".

    'Dialogue in Darkness' oil painting by Shiba Ghaderi, Iran

    Sharing the same perspective on the need to foster exchange and communication across cultural divides through the powerful language of art, Emergent Art Space was very happy to participate in  this initiative.

    In spite of enormous practical as well as ideological obstacles, Narimon and his great team (Beth Kirshenberg, Phyllis Kao, Jan Tichy, Denise Milan, among others), succeeded in engaging the active and enthusiastic participation of women from countries where the dialogue is most difficult, close to impossible, especially when addressing the condition of being a woman: Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and Palestine.

    The purpose of the project is what Narimon calls 'cultural diplomacy', creating dialogue and understanding through culture, through art. A most immediate way of communicating across borders.

    As we can read on the project website, 'Generative Multilogue' is a social enterprise at the intersection of art and technology, which aims to be a platform to support art that is about dialogue and  empathy.

     

     

    Three artists were able to travel from Iran with special Visas for this exhibition. One of them, having been rejected a Visa to the US for many years, was reunited with a son living in California after ten years of separation. Another touching moment was when we were able to meet on Zoom an artist from Afghanistan who only three weeks ago was able to flee the Taliban into Pakistan. Her identity is still not revealed.

    From the left: Judy Kharchou (Syria), Zeynab Movahed (Iran), Suha Al Attas (Saudi Arabia), Shiba Ghaderi (Iran), Jenny Rafalson (Israel)

    Emergent Art Space congratulates all the artists who exhibited their works at the 'Generative Multilogue" booth, actively participating in this very special event!  We sincerely hope that 'Generative Multilogue' will continue to bring together artists from many sides of the world in its 'cultural diplomacy' project!!


    Photo credits: Generative Multilogue and Emergent Art Space.

  • ‘Please Enjoy our Tragedies’: an exhibition by Sai [BLANK] | Yangon/London

    These are heartbreaking times with authoritarian rule and repressive violence on the rise confronting democratic governance and civilians. Some countries/cities/states/regions elicit more media attention and global support than others; yet the injustices, horrors of oppression and the suffering of people are tragically felt by all individuals, families and communities directly impacted across the world.

    Emergent Art Space believes that young artists can play a role in powerfully communicating, bearing witness, offering unique perspectives, documenting and amplifying these stories of fraught circumstances, resistance and resilient bravery. By engaging creative energies, artworks and internet platforms, artists can spread awareness across vast distances, forging interconnected systems of understanding, compassion and support.

    With these aims in mind, we are eager to share the announcement below for a vitally important exhibition in London by artist Sai   from Myanmar.

    For more on Sai's story see 'The World is Doing Nothing' in TIME magazine,  and article's about Sai’s show in Artnet news and Open Democracy.

    
    
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