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Transcript of Liberation (Un)Masked
sulger-buel lovelllondon I cape town
LIBERATION (UN)MASKED 25 November 15 DeCember 2014
LIBERATION (UN)MASKED25 November 13 DeCember 2014
Liberation (Un)Masked; a post-colonial enquiry into the dichotomy between the utopian ideals of liberation and the
realities presented by the waking world, as reflected by sculptor Neill Wright and mixed media artist Turay mederic,
visually deconstructing the narratives of the past and complex actualities of the present.
The notion of liberation; the attainment of a state of freedom from constructed constraints, is a mask that bears falsity
in the physicalized sphere of the African continent. The continent is a milieu of epochs of cyclic occurrences of conflict
and unrest, and responsive efforts of rehabilitation and reconciliation. However the state of emancipation of African
countries does not connote the emancipation of the individual within their lived experience. The socio-economic and
political challenges of existence remain embedded, wounds bandaged in the wooing word liberation, under which
festers ubiquitous inequalities, advancing the privileged minority and continually marginalizing the masses.
The notion of liberation has become a symbol of power and autonomy for states, however this faade constructed
through expectant yet largely unrealized and corrupted promises, has dulled individuals into a state of complacency,
countering and further regressing embryonic progression ignited by liberalist movements and individuals.
Through the use of suggestive dichotomies, Wright and mederics works simultaneously induce opposing emotional
responses. Wrights sculptural compositions are a sophisticated rendition of Legoman, and mederics bold and brightly
hued forms evoke a child-like spirit. The seemingly playful aesthetic momentarily disguises the gravitas of their works
provocative examination of society. mederic and Wright interrogate the means utilized to realize liberation, and the
residual scars that taint this ideal. The artists compositions signify the duality of society, revealing the face of dystopia.
Liberation (Un)Masked aims to visually unveil that which is often seen through eyes wide shut in the authentic spirit of
place of society, that which has been concealed behind tableauxs of the idyllic. It will serve as a catalyst for societal
conscientization; a reawakening to liberation as a continuous journey of agency, rather than a static conception.
Kefiloe Siwisa (curator)
Ivorian mixed media artist Turay mederics work is continuously in search of new methods to read the urban landscape.
His paintings and sculptural paintings are abstract and figurative in style. Influenced by the dynamism of popular culture
motifs, the playful nature of childhood drawings and urban art, and forms of Paleolithic cave paintings, mederic interweaves
painted forms, print media and word play. mederic has termed this visual language of semiotic metaphors trace.
Trace; the need for absolute sobriety, deprivation, the need to go to the elemental form, the parameters restricted to the
essentials; with the building blocks of our African roots. A methodical ritual that invites you to travel mentally to other places,
other stories and in history.
mederics artworks demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the
effects of global cultural interaction. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between self and other,
between our own cannibal and civilized selves. each piece of this body takes part of a whole, elements of a game
(life) which come together, visually juxtaposing a society of servile instruments of aggressive despotism and one of free
minded individuals, emancipated from both mental and physical enslavement.
Turay mederic received his higher education at various arts institutions from 19972005; Centre Techniques des Arts
Appliques de bingerville, Acadmie des beaux Arts de Cocody and Atelier International Abidjan and Paris. mederic
has had numerous solo exhibitions in Cote dIvoire and Dakar Senegal and has exhibited in group shows in Abijan,
Washington DC, Spain (Gallerie out of Africa) and London (Jack bell Art Prize).
6Desperate Changes60 x 80 cmMixed mediaTuray Mederic
7No I Dont Eat Bananas60 x 80 cmMixed mediaTuray Mederic
8We Need More Love190 x 140 cmMixed mediaTuray Mederic
9The Holly Dinner250 x 130 cmMixed mediaTuray Mederic
Unity is Strength190 x 140 cmMixed mediaTuray Mederic
Rich World, Poor World190 x 140 cmMixed mediaTuray Mederic
Lost Identity 143 x 135 cmMixed mediaTuray Mederic
Lost Identity 243 x 135 cmMixed mediaTuray Mederic
Reflection of illusion190 x 140 cmMixed mediaTuray Mederic
Moral Contradictions190 x 140 cmMixed mediaTuray Mederic
Neill Wright is a multidisciplinary artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His satirical work braves the world of social
commentary in a bold and humorous manner. Wright explores various mediums; sculpture, printmaking and painting
are his modes of expression, drawing inspiration from media, popular culture, politics and societal interactions in an
attempt to create panoramic views of current issues, hardships, complexities and paradoxes present within South Africa
and Africa as a whole. Through highlighting the absurdities of a collectively experienced everyday his work subverts
the tragic, I think humour makes the tragedy more palatable.
In the body of work, Legacies of Liberation, Wright questions the notion of liberation as it pertains to the African continent.
His enquiry into the consequences of the various liberation movements which have shaped and continue to shape the
continent, developed into a deeper exploration of the term liberation, and the means used to attain it.
The process of gaining independence created a plethora of oligarchs, surrounded by power hungry sycophants resulting in the
obscene plundering of state resources to the benefit of only the powerful few. This marginalization and abandonment along
with disenfranchisement, unemployment, poverty and violence remain the primary seeds of discontent.
Throughout the continent, bronze statues are erected as symbols of freedom, unity and strength, embodying the
ideals of nationhood, however they have also come to be perceived as symbols of megalomania and bad governance,
Wrights sculptures developed as a reaction to this. each of his characters depict one of the many issues of reality, and
each therefore functions rather ironically as a monument or memorial to mark one of the many legacies of liberation.
Wright received his bA in Fine Art (Honours) at the michaelis School of Fine Art (University of Cape Town), and his
Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art. From the outset Wrights exhibitions have drawn attention and his works have been
bought by savvy collectors, housed in private collections across South Africa and europe. In 2003 Wright was named
one of the 10 emerging South African artists to watch by The Times, and he has exhibited in group and solo shows with
Lovell Gallery, Salon 91, everard read, Intoto Gallery, and at numerous South African and International Artfairs.
Failed ConnectionPatinated Bronze35 x 70 x 50 cmNeill Wright
Failed Connection deals with the dumping of e-waste under the guise of bridging the technological divide between developed and less developed nations. The technologies are so obsolete that they are burnt in order to melt away the plastic and extract the metal. This is often carried out by children as a means to generate income to send to families or pay for school. The character himself is designed to look as if hes almost become a part of the environment, scarred by the waste.
Hobby HorsePatinated Bronze34 x 74 x 55 cmNeill Wright
Hobby Horse is a commentary on child soldiers, the loss of innocence and the naivety to the tragedy of war. It juxtaposes children in a free society, to those forced into a military role under the guise of liberation.
PiggybackBronze35 x 79 x 37 cmNeill Wright
Piggyback questions how liberated a girl or child is when forced into the role of parent through circumstance, often an unfortunate product of their environment. The long dress, big feet, closed eyes and tired posture juxtaposed with the smiling, protected baby illustrate the hardships of forced motherhood.
Staying AfloatBronze56 x 96 x 42 cmNeill Wright
Staying Afloat deals with the violence associated with the oil industry in Africa and the exploitation of the local population. People often join various militia groups as a means of income due to destroyed fishing spots or are forced to as a means to protect themselves.
Last ResortBronze32 x 90 x 65 cmNeill Wright
Last Resort is about the movement of refugees, many of whom are considered just a number, a strain on a countries resources and a burden, failing to acknowledge the sheer desperation that is experienced by displaced persons. The characters gestural language illustrates the reluctance to move and the weight and burden of the journey.
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