5 x Black Lives Matter in art – Can be seen now

In the Kunsthallen, artists from the African diaspora convey a strong message. In the exhibition ‘In the Black Fantastic’ they each address racism and social inequality in their own way.

Don’t miss these five impressive works of art!

Soundsuits by Nick Cave. In the Black Fantastic, Kunsthal Rotterdam, photo: Fred Ernst

1. Nick Cave – Soundsuits

A suit of armor that hides who is inside and protects you from the world and society. American artist Nick Cave has been making this kind of Soundsuit for thirty years.

He made the first in 1992 in response to the assault by police officers on African-American taxi driver Rodney King and the subsequent Los Angeles riots.

Unfortunately, his themes are still relevant. With the work ‘9:29’, Cave refers to the murder of George Floyd in 2020. The title of the work, ‘9:29’, is the time when police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck.

Lina Iris Viktor – Eleventh, 2018 © Courtesy the Artist

2. Lina Iris Viktor – eleventh

The series ‘A Haven. Hell. A dream deferred.’ by Lina Iris Viktor is about Liberia. A West African country founded in 1822 as a new home for black people born to freedom or freed from slavery.

She portrays herself as the Libyan Sibyl, a figure who in classical mythology foretold “the coming of the day when that which is hidden shall be revealed.” In the series, she brings together influences from classical mythology, West African textiles and Aboriginal painting.

Ellen Gallagher – Ecstatic Draft of Fishes, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Tony Nathan ©Ellen Gallagher

3. Ellen Gallagher – Ecstatic Draft of Fishes

Ellen Gallagher’s paintings may seem sweet and poetic at first glance, but the story is based on a gruesome reality. Enslaved pregnant women were thrown overboard during the transatlantic passage.

In the fantasy underwater world that Gallagher creates, the offspring of these women have grown gills. This is how they live on.

Hew Locke’s ambassadors. In the Black Fantastic, Kunsthal Rotterdam, photo: Fred Ernst

4. Hew Locke – The Ambassadors

Meet the ambassadors of a parallel universe or empire that has been or is yet to come. Artist Hew Locke’s equestrian statues carry history with them. They are packed with details that you can keep looking at.

Locke leaves it to the visitor to speculate from which past, present, or future civilization the ambassadors come. He makes us look at monuments and commemorative statues in a different way.

Kara Walker – Prince McVeigh and the Turner Blasphemies, 2021. Video, 12:06 minutes. Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; Sprüth Magers, Berlin © Kara Walker

5. Kara Walker – Prince McVeigh and the Turner blasphemies

Artist Kara Walker is known for her stop-motion animations with paper silhouettes. The title of this work may sound like a fairy tale, but it does not have a happy ending.

In this film, Walker returns to the crimes of white nationalists. Like the highly publicized lynching of a black man, James Byrd, Jr., who was dragged behind a pickup truck for miles by the ankles in 1998.

It is a reaction to recent decades of social development in America, where extreme right-wing ideas incite distrust, hatred and violence.

Now on view! from the Kunsthalle

Works by a total of eleven contemporary artists can be seen in the Kunsthallen, at the interface between reality and various fantasy worlds. Are you curious about this exhibition? See you now! Suzanne Swarts, director of Museum Voorlinden, takes a look at these colorful and impressive works.

Now on view! see you on Wednesday 25 January at 21.10 on AVROTROS on NPO 2.

See now Ser! back

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