By Ogova Ondego
Published April 17, 2014
I hardly ever get carried away by art exhibitions as they are just too many and, as is said, the best is yet to come. But I am overly excited about Transcient [Inspired by Turkana], an art show by Chilean mixed media artist Josefina Munoz Torres that is scheduled to run May 1-June 2, 2014 in the Nairobi National Museum.
So why am I excited?
Because Transcient [Inspired by Turkana] is based on the artist’s experience as a resident among the nomadic Turkana in the Ilemi Triangle, an area claimed by South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya but which is administerd by Nairobi. Like the good old anthropologist, explorer or missionary using cross-culture experience for effective communication and development, I find the work of Torres–drawings, photos, light boxes, installation on temporariness’ exploring the idea of private space, ownership and mobility among Turkana–both utilitarian, informative and stimulating. It is a classic example of how agents of ‘development’–the communicators, journalists, teachers, medics, preachers and politicians who ‘become everything to every wo/man’ in order to serve the cause–ought to go about their work, especially if they are foreign to the people they want to work among.
“I see architecture as a vivid resonance of a specific cultural context and study through my work diverse spatial issues generated by the relationship between man and his built structures. Informed by the painting tradition and urged on by an acute urban analysis, I examine the locations through which I transit and from my flâneur condition comment upon their particularities,” she says of her approach.
“By questioning my creation practice, material choices, and subject matter,” adds Josefina Munoz Torres “I have opted to translate my spatial concerns to a tridimensional language and to evaluate the representational aspect of the image.”
Josefina Munoz Torres–I admire her academic, cross-cultural and practical experience credentials–appeatrs to be guided by concepts that she translates into action. Holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and a Master’s in Fine Arts with specialisation in Glass, Torres has studied and worked in Chile, Mexico, USA, Germany and Scotland and has exhibited, given lectures and attended artist residence programmes in Kenya, Tanzania, USA, Chile, Scotland, and Germany.
Also coming up at NNM are two art shows–‘Where he ran, and returned to’ by Clinton Kirkpatrick and ‘Todonyang: A story in pictures’by various artists–on May 3-31, 2014 and May 24-June 24, 2014, respectively.