Taipei Dangdai Art Fair 2024

May 10, 2024 - May 12, 2024

Afriart Gallery is thrilled to present of two artists from Eastern Africa at its debut participation Taipei Dangdai Art Fair: Fiker Solomon (*1995) from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Henry Mzili Mujunga (*1971) from Kampala, Uganda. 

 

While the two artists stem from different countries, cultures, and generations, their work is bound by their individual and profound engagements with nature and human’s inseparable but oftentimes dismissed connection to it. The natural world serves as a common thread weaving through Mzili’s and Solomon’s artistry.Having had a childhood deeply connected with the natural world, they now both live in large and fast-paced African cities where, at times, it becomes a task in itself to disconnect from the strenuous realities of modern life and to find a quiet place and intact natural ecosystems. Their contemplation on how human experiences are inherently intertwined with nature, in an age of hyper-individualization and alarming urgency of environmental protection, prompts introspection into our responsibilities towards preserving and nurturing our environment

 

During the creative process, both artists’ choice of material and techniques involve a high level of patience, care and meditative engagement with the material itself. While Mzili employs oil paint to create highly realistic and detailed portraits and partly abstracted scenes, Solomon intricately knots, stitches and punches her textiles into medium to large-scale tapestries. 

 

Mzili often places natural elements like plants commonly found in his environment into the foreground of his paintings. Portraying his figures as an integral part of their natural environment rather than two separate entities, he challenges the traditional separation between humans and nature. He points us towards our symbiotic relationship – our interdependence and human’s unquestionable need for functioning ecosystems to exist. The works presented, are a reminder that environmental preservation is a fundamental for our collective and individual well-being as humans.

 

Solomon’s ‘Web of Life’ series presented here, employs two main metaphoric references to explore our everyday human experiences: The human vein and the root, symbolizing a shared essence. Despite our differences as humans, the series emphasizes that we are connected and should strive for unity and towards maintaining that unity over time. The series shows that what we’ve built together and with a respectful approach towards our natural environment is strong and enduring. Looking at humans and nature as a combined force, she urges us to believe in the power of our collective unity. She highlights our resilience to face challenges and build a lasting connection that can withstand the test of time.


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