Ibrahim Mahama, Garden of Scars, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, 2022 / Photo Mike Bink
Ibrahim Mahama: Garden of Scars
Nov 5, 2022 – Mar 19, 2023
Oude Kerk
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Ibrahim Mahama created a new, space-filling installation especially for Amsterdam’s oldest building. Walk through the centuries-old church building and discover the shared history of ancient places connected by trade networks, migration flows and globalization.

Commissioned by the Oude Kerk, Mahama has been working on a new large-scale site-specific installation for the past two years. Garden of Scars connects the history of the Oude Kerk with an international (historical) context. Scattered through the building are hundreds of sculptures. The sculptures are composed of casts he made from the tombstones in the Oude Kerk and the floors of Fort Elmina (1482) on the coast of Ghana, among others. The fractures, scratches and cracks in the sculptures depict a history of failure, repair, repair.

He links the family histories of the merchants, captains, mayors buried in the Old Church with the traces of the history of the ancient (Dutch) forts along the coast of Ghana where people suffered the (consequences of) colonial trade in Africa. Castles and forts were built from the 15th century on the West African coast by traders from Europe, including the Dutch. Fort Elmina, for instance, initially served the gold trade and later played an important role in the development of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Mahama aims to make this shared history visible. Global networks linked to both places and continuing into the present day are made palpable.

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    Nov 22, 2023 – Feb 29, 2024
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    Milan, Italy

    1 a 1 Affinità is a group show celebrating the relationship between different artistic expressions and their surrounding context. The exhibition takes place at ON House Milano: a charming location in the heart of Milano, which used to be the Azucena workshop of Architect Caccia Dominioni.

    The combination of space, artwork, and the artworks between them invites the audience to discover, through research and observation, that “spark” of affinity generated by perception.

    The path follows the thin line that defines different artistic languages, such as figurative art and abstract art, but also performance, photography, NFT, happening, video and installation. And everything with the utmost respect to the historical heritage and design purpose of the house.

    This was, in fact, the toughest challenge for the curators Anna Kessler and Anna Niutta. They looked for the harmony within different poetics, and created a unique and unexpected domestic experience. An experience deeply related to the visible.

    Starting from the “Sleeping Girl” (yes, she will be actually sleeping in the bedroom of the house), the exhibition reveals a path through memories and people, mysteries and objects and colors and hopes. And in fact, isn’t the bed the one, true realm of imagery and imagination, dreams and visualizations?

    Every night, as we lay our day down, we practice the art of letting go. We leave our conscious thoughts, our rational mind behind, and we agree to see, and be seen  –  we accept to yield control. And as we do that, we gift ourselves to the domain of imagery  –  key and vehicle to those intimate, submerged places and spaces. At night, it is instinct and imagery that guide our experience.

    Research on the visible is a challenge to observation directed to the observer. There certainly is a real world that we know, but how much of this real world is exhausted in our sensory experience?

    Through the dialogue between works, the observer discovers similarities between different languages that ultimately prove to be distant only in appearance. Different artistic means manage to generate, through perception, a living impression in continuous dialogue with the observer.

    The common features, or affinities, between the different forms of expression appear very clear at times: the figurative often finds itself drawing from elements that are not properly its own, and the non-figurative struggles to disregard sensory reality that is also perhaps only an illusion.

    To what degree is our sensory perception conditioned by our inner state and to what extent is it – instead – influenced by our surroundings?

    The show will be featuring the following artists: Michele Dal Bosco, Louise Daniel, Giovanni De Benedetto, Laura Grinberga, Alessandro Grimoldieu, Rosanna Iob, Rebecca Loro, Guenda Nocentini, Carolina Pozzi, Maddalena Tesser, Maria Giovanna Zanella. With the precious contribution of Annalisa Iob. Everything was made possible by the vision of Fabio Tacchinardi.

    Curated by Anna & Anna
    On House Milano, Via Passione 8, Milan, Italy
    Vernissage by invitation only
    For more information: art@onhousemilano.com