Roots Extended: In Search of the Roots of Humanity

SCHIEDAM – The group exhibition Roots at OpenArtExchange has been extended. Until 22 August, the work of five artists will be on view under the theme “roots of humanity”.

It is about heritage and technology, violence and development in the gallery on Hoogstraat. A striking feature is the work of the Congolese artist Jonathan Vatunga, who depicts in his work the themes of the colonization of Africa and the consequences today – and does not do so according to a one-way street between perpetrator and victim. Look at how he shows how the powers and forces on the chessboard that is Africa are shifting; art of the continent is more than wood carvings and Tutankhamun (Histoire modifiéé). Or how African youngsters also become slaves to the technology of the telephone call (Les esclaves du monde moderne). “Letting go of your roots doesn’t always make the world a better place,” says Joke Bakker, owner of OpenArtExchange.

Vatunga’s story is special. He is currently under asylum proceedings in France, because he was convicted in Congo for one of his paintings in December. He emigrated to France and was able to do so on the visa he still had before he was ‘artist in residence’ in Schiedam. “They had then given him a” multiple entry visa “, without being asked,” said Bakker, who had invited him to Schiedam.

“Roots is about realizing how important your roots are,” she says. “Things from the past are not necessarily less valuable than the latest developments.”

Other artists that can be seen in the context of Roots are Casca (Angola / UK), Sanda Amadou (Benin), Zhanhong Liao (NL / China) and Jeffrey Burgers (NL). Liao made “landscapes” full of stillness with polyurethane foam, Casca painted and drew “avatars” that depict life in Angola. Like the one from the street vendor and the charlatan below.

OpenArtExchange is open at Hoogstraat 85 Thursday through Sunday, from one to six.