Casa África exhibits the African collection of Saro León

'Movement 20', by Owusu Ankomah (2001)

'Movement 20', by Owusu Ankomah (2001)

The textile works by Abdoulaye Konaté, the peculiar portraits by Malick Sidibé or the paintings by the Ghanese Owusu Ankomah are some of the options present in Casa África's upcoming exhibition called Fabrics of Light, which will be opened tomorrow at the institution's headquarters and will show works from contemporary African artists that are part of the international collection of the Canary Island gallery owner Saro León. This first exhibition project from the Saro León Collection frames the work of seven contemporary artists of African origin whose works have been undertaken in the areas of photography, embroidered materials, painting on material, video and sculpture. They are Owusu Ankomah (Ghana), Mama Casset and Amadou Makhtar Mbaye, known as  Tita (Senegal), Abdoulaye Konaté and Malick Sidibé (Mali), Michèle Magema (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon).

The title of the exhibition relates to light as a base for photography and video, as lighting, as the ability of artists to generate new horizons. It is also light that emanates from the work of these seven creators, which is characterised by a strong feeling of commitment with their history and the present. Fabrics of Light not only allows us to see the works of these seven recognised names in the world of African contemporary art together, but at the same time recognise the great work of collecting that the gallery owner Saro León has undertaken from the Canary Islands. Since the middle of the nineties, León has embarked together with this exhibition's curator, Orlando Britto Jinorio, on various trips to Africa, where she has delved into the knowledge of the continent's contemporary art through events such as the Photography Biennial of Bamako or the Dakar Biennial. Not only at a Canary Islands level but also nationally, we can consider Saro León as a pioneer in incorporating and regulating the presence of contemporary artists of African origin, together with other international artists, in the project of her gallery.

The exhibition Fabrics of Light exhibits a series of thirteen photographs by  Malick Sidibé, amongst which are highlighted his back portraits. Sidibé is the most prominent living figure of contemporary photography in Mali, with an indisputable universal projection, and his Studio Malick, still going in the popular neighbourhood of Bagadadji, in Bamako, is today a pilgrimage site for photography lovers. Seven fabrics from his compatriot Abdoulaye Konaté are also exhibited, and are characterised by their unique creativity and poetic strength. Tita from Senegal is represented by a theatre-box, a real "theatre of memory" where information relating to Senegal's history in the 12th and 13th centuries is represented with recycled material.

We can also see the portraits of Mama Casset, a Senegalese photographer of the so-called generation of the fifties in his country, who has had a great influence on the iconography of Senegalese glass painting. An important canvas by Owusu Ankomah will be displayed, which as an extraordinary work on the human body, as a reference to Humanity, sets up a transverse dialogue through symbolic horizons of the signs of world cultures, crossing cultural and aesthetic borders in favour of a universal human ideal. Together with them, the video-performance from Michèle Magema browses among the concepts of the land of homeland and host and highlights the female perspective in a mixed cultural contemporary world. Finally, the exhibition is completed with the work in sculpture and photography by Barthélémy Toguo, which focuses on the migrations of people, borders and identities.

The exhibition can be seen at Casa África from tomorrow onwards, at 8.00pm, and will be open to the public until the 1st of March 2013. A great opportunity to compare the high level of African contemporary art and see works together from renowned artists from all over the world.



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