Friday, 25 July 2014

PANGAEA – Saatchi Gallery

I was especially interested in visiting this show at the Saatchi Gallery as it was described as New Art from Africa and Latin America. As an African living in the UK and an artist concerned with identity and displacement this most certainly peaked my interest. Also I have been interested in how over the last 20 years there has been a shift in the notion of globalisation and how a once 'west' dictated art world has moved over more and more to a far more localised understanding of art and new localised centres of art have emerged from around the world.
I was worried that this big show was merely a tick in the curatorial box and objectives of such a large and powerful institution to appease art from the 'diaspora' that they perhaps were obliged to represent every few years (and perhaps it was) however I did feel that the show was exciting and interesting in what it show cased. It somehow did capture for me, contemporary art from Africa and I was interested in the art emerging from Latin America too. It was fresh and held an essence which I can only describe as authentic having come from South Africa and experiencing the local art scene there.
I enjoyed the show and hope to see more and more emerging art like this.
However what really interests me and what begs the question is the title of the show why call it,   'Pangaea'?
Was it someone's half-hearted bright idea? Was it an over site on the curatorial front? Or was it an intentional contradiction?
On looking up the definition of Pangaea the online Encyclopaedia Britannica states, 'Pangea, also spelled Pangaea, in early geologic time, a "supercontinent" that incorporated almost all of Earth's landmasses and covered nearly one-third of Earth's surface.'
I was wondering if this was the curatorial team's idea of including art from outside the west in an attempt to say we are all part of the same continent or if it was a sloppy way of connecting art from Africa and Latin America…forgetting that according the definition of Pangaea we were actually all connected without exclusion! Just a thought!

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