Hossein Hashempoor | Gavin Jantjes | Sharjah Art Foundation
Gavin Jantjes, Freedom, Sharjah A Review by Hossein Hashempoor
When Azadeh Jafarian asked South African painter Gavin Jantjes to choose a piece for us to photograph in Sharjah Art Foundation Gallery 4, I expected it to be a distinctive African painting with people and references to African politics and culture. His creations are well-known throughout the world, and he has even participated in auctions at Sotheby's. Gavin, nevertheless, grabbed our hands and urged us to move. He showed us gallery 5 ...
ArtDayME : Hossein Hashempoor: When Azadeh Jafarian asked South African painter Gavin Jantjes to choose a piece for us to photograph in Sharjah Art Foundation Gallery 4, I expected it to be a distinctive African painting with people and references to African politics and culture.
His creations are well-known throughout the world, and he has even participated in auctions at Sotheby's. Gavin, nevertheless, grabbed our hands and urged us to move. He showed us gallery 5, which was a very unique, bright, abstract environment!
Gavin led the way to a huge panel, the color of which is as vividly purple as his outfit. It's visible in the picture.
He stated that during his time in Sharjah, he lovingly painted these paintings, which represent a new generation of his creations.
The distinct setting of Sharjah, with its peaceful sea, friendly locals, oysters, and pearls, as well as its vibrantly colored thatched streets, offered poetry and freedom to Gavin's paintings, which are constantly striving for independence.
He was right. All you had to do was sit in front of these paintings, close your eyes, and listen to the energy that flowed through them. You would undoubtedly hear the sound of water in that scenario.
However, another piece of art that captivated me was a fascinating mural in Gallery 6.
The 40-year-old painting is presently based in Sharjah and was originally created in Brixton, South London. In the lovely alleyways of Al Mureijah, you can spend hours standing in front of it and seeing its narrative—the story of a fight for freedom.
"The Dream, The Rumor and The Poet's Song" is the title of the 7,500-square-meter mural that created in 1985.
The audience is shown an eye-catching work of art that tells a story and requires slow strolling to see its scenes, which mimic movie frames.
The agonies and sufferings of Black people who were persecuted and taken advantage of for years because to the color of their skin can be seen in this painting. In addition, the painting incorporates five images, which serve as a visual record of the original.
The Sharjah Art Foundation has included a detailed description of this mural in the show catalog.
Text excerpts: "This painting's first chapter is immigration, depicting a devastating fire that evokes memories of the tragic New Cross house fire in 1981 that claimed the lives of thirteen young African-British men."
"Even if the painting was demolished in the middle of the 1990s without the artist's consent, its past nevertheless serves as evidence of the contribution public art makes to the development of a sense of shared identity."
The Africa Institute (GSU) in Sharjah collaborated with Jantjes to arrange his retrospective exhibition "To Be Free!” which features almost fifty years of his works from 1970 to 2023. The head of the institute, Salah M. Hassan, oversaw the event.
The audience is presented with three topics and a distinct ambiance throughout the three galleries of the exhibition, allowing them to read the artist's intellectual universe from various angles. An intriguing collection of Jantjes' writings, videos, and resume can be found on the fourth floor of Gallery 4, providing a more thorough grasp of his philosophy of social responsibility.
Gallery 4, 5, and 6 of the Sharjah Art Foundation at Al Mureijah Art Spaces will host the show until March 10, 2024.