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October 27 - November 11 

Adad Hannah

Art Toronto VIP programming event October 27th

65 George Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5A 4L8



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CS


ABOUT THE SHOW  / WORKS AVAILABLE  / 


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ABOUT THE SHOW

The Raft of the Medusa: Saint-Louis:

In 2015 I was invited to a residency at Keur Laminaire in Saint-Louis, Senegal, which is four hours north of Dakar by car on the western edge of the African continent. In early 2016 I arrived in Saint-Louis to produce a new community-engaged work on the 200th anniversary of the grim events related to the stranding of the French frigate Medusa, an event that remains a strong reminder of the perils of poor leadership and a corrupt bureaucracy.

In the summer of 1816 the Medusa ran aground on its way to Saint-Louis, Senegal, captained by an inept officer who had been appointed by the King of France. While each of the lifeboats that left the Medusa had its own story of rough seas and treacherous travels along the sun-burnt shores, the story of this makeshift raft, abandoned by the captain and set adrift with more than 150 people aboard, captured the contemporary imagination and is most strongly remembered now through Theodore Gericault’s giant painting Le Radeau de la Méduse (1818 – 1819) which hangs at the Louvre.

In my work, I try to approach each project with an open mind and few preconceived ideas of what the finished work will look like. This activates the production process and results in a project that reflects the specific community and context within which it was produced. For this project I spent five weeks in Senegal, researching, building, rehearsing, and recording a set of tableaux vivants in video and photographs.

In Saint-Louis I set up shop at a makeshift studio in an old warehouse that was once at the heart of the colonial outpost. From there I set out searching for more than a week, meeting people in the community - artists, actors, boat builders, craftspeople, historians, musicians, administrators, etc - trying to figure out what project would make sense in this specific cultural milieu of a post-colonial Senegal. Finally, after meeting formally and informally with many people in the community I settled on creating a raft made from scraps of dismantled pirogues (handmade and brightly painted wooden fishing boats), architectural scraps, and other elements found while roaming around the island of Saint-Louis and the adjacent fishing village of Guet N’Dar on the Langue de Barbarie. The background and the water for the set were made from 300 meters of cotton fabric. Everything was built locally, including the 4-meter tall “sun” lighting the set.

Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, and produced with the assistance of more than fifty locals, this project represents my largest community-based project to date. It was performed live four times in May 2016 and was exhibited in the off-site programming of the Dakar Biennale in the same month. In October 2016 it was included in the Lagos Photo Festival in Lagos, Nigeria.

This isn’t the first time I have made a community-based artwork inspired by Gericault’s historic masterpiece. In 2009 I went to the remote community of 100 Mile House, BC to produce The Raft of the Medusa (100 Mile House), one of my first large-scale community projects. For that project I focused on recreating Gericault’s painting somewhat faithfully; in this new project in Saint-Louis I was not concerned with aesthetic fidelity and focused instead on the historical record and its relationship to the local community, recreating the raft as drawn from memory by Alexandre Corréard, one of only fifteen survivors who made it to Senegal. I imagined what life might have been like during those seventeen days, drifting listlessly at sea. By re-staging this historical moment I re-contextualized the events on the raft not through a change of location but through a temporal shift of 200 years. This both draws attention to the original tragedy of 1816 as well as exposes obvious parallels with contemporary events. By restaging and reshooting the same events Gericault explored in his painting, a melding of the historical and the contemporary takes place.

Backyard Guernica

Backyard Guernica is the first stage of a long term project of re-staging and re-contextualizing Picasso’s 1937 painting, made in response to the atrocities of WWI. I’ve been wanting to work with Guernica for several years, and in late 2016 after the election in the United States I decided it was now or never. Working with collaborators n Augusta, Georgia in June 2017, 80 years after the original painting was made, I began to pull together the people and materials to remake at full scale Picasso’s protest painting in the heart of Trump land.

I decided to use the materials of protest signs: cardboard, foam, wood, and house paint and to build it quickly and with urgency. As we worked on the project, family and friends came by to see what we were doing and it is through this network of people that we found the 20 participants who held the individual pieces of Guernica while we shot the video. By breaking the original image into 12 pieces, we gave each indvidual the ….The video and photographs attest to this process of distillation and re-animation as Guernica comes to life in the South.

- AH

The Gallery thanks SODEC for its support


WORKS

 

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The Raft of the Medusa (Saint-Louis) Photograph 8
2016
archival pigment print
45.75 x 91.5cm (18" x 36”) 
89 x 178cm (35" x 70") 
editions of 3 for each size 
The Raft of the Medusa (Saint-Louis) Photograph 6
2016
archival pigment print 
68.5 x 45.75cm (27" x 18”)
132 x 89cm (52" x 35")
editions of 3 for each size
The Raft of the Medusa (Saint-Louis) Photograph 5
2016
archival pigment print 
68.5 x 45.75cm (27" x 18”)
132 x 89cm (52" x 35")
editions of 3 for each size


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The Raft of the Medusa (Saint-Louis) Photograph 3
2016
archival pigment print 
45.75 x 68.5cm (18" x 27”)
89 x 132cm (35" x 52")
editions of 3 for each size
The Raft of the Medusa (Saint-Louis) Photograph 2
2016
archival pigment print 
45.75 x 68.5cm (18" x 27”)
89 x 132cm (35" x 52")
editions of 3 for each size



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Backyard Guernica (Georgia)
2017, 4K video, 6 min 03s. Edition of 7
Collector will receive 4K and HD versions
Backyard Guernica (Georgia) 1
2017, colour photograph / épreuve photographique couleur 
86.5 x 140 cm / 34 x 55 in. Edition of 5
173 x 279 cm / 68 x 110 in. Edition of 2
Backyard Guernica (Georgia) 2
2017, colour photograph / épreuve photographique couleur 
86.5 x 140 cm / 34 x 55 in. Edition of 5
173 x 279 cm / 68 x 110 in. Edition of 2



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