1707886289 La Casa Encendida in Madrid Memories and racial mixtures that

La Casa Encendida in Madrid: Memories and racial mixtures that form a community in Spain | Future planet

“I think it's important to be here and encourage the younger generations to dare. Now the moment has come when many racialized artists in the world agree on this point of visibility and we must exploit it,” says Agnes Essonti Luque (Barcelona, ​​​​1996). The visual artist, daughter of a Cameroonian father and an Andalusian mother (from Córdoba), speaks from one of the rooms of La Casa Encendida in Madrid as the collective exhibition Generation 2024 opens. Identity, memory and community of a generation with diverse roots born in the nineties.

Essonti explains that it doesn't matter whether an exhibition like this aims for “Benetton-level representation” and encourages other children of immigrants to “occupy all possible spaces” since there have been previous artistic references that ” didn't do that.” They had the “places of representation” that they can now access. He cites, for example, “a generation of Equatorial Guineans who produced art here but were unable to be in La Casa Encendida or Reina Sofía.”

One of the works in the exhibition “Generation 2024. Identity, memory and community of a generation born in the 1990s with diverse roots”.One of the works in the exhibition “Generation 2024. Identity, memory and community of a generation born in the 1990s with diverse roots”.Juan Naharro

With this exhibition, the Montemadrid Foundation's call for generations celebrates its 24th edition as a platform for contemporary art with the aim of giving emerging authors the opportunity to make themselves known to patrons, the public and critics. In this edition, which received almost 500 nominations, the works of eight creators were selected, in which the experience of diaspora, memory and colonialism, the formation of identity and community bonds are some of the common themes. These discourses are held in various formats, with installations combining painting, sculpture and audiovisual recordings predominating.

The jury emphasizes the value of a “very personal and emotional reflection” on identities that, even if they are “the result of controversial historical processes”, can bring about “the development of physical and territorial community spaces” on the one hand and social, emotional and cultural on the other.

The selected projects are: They made me nostalgic when I was little, by Agnes Essonti Luque; Amparo by An Wei (Madrid, 1990); View from the Flight of an Eagle, by Daniel De La Barra (Lima, 1992); At the End of Your Hair, by Irati Inoriza (Balmaseda, Vizcaya, 1992); Ukemi Ushiro Ukemi, by Milena Rossignoli (Quito, 1990); Capture the Living Manners as They Rise, by Raúl Silva (Lima, 1991); Dialogues 2023 by Salem Amar (Barcelona, ​​1999) and Succulentbonds/ lazossuculentos by Weixin Quek Chong (Singapore, 1988).

One of the works in the exhibition La Casa Encendida.One of the works in the exhibition La Casa Encendida.Juan Naharro

Lavapies, Hospitalet, Singapore

Essonti is one of the active artists who clearly expresses her desire not to miss opportunities to disseminate her works. On this occasion, she presents a work in which she shows photos that she took herself in Cameroon, her father's country, texts from the memories of a girl who grew up in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, accompanied by stories of other people and even elements of fiction This allows it to expand. The most striking thing about the installation is the carpet, made in collaboration with the Top Manta union (street vendors in Barcelona): “We sewed it together in their workshop and I used different objects that are metaphors of our lives and the processes, that exist.” have an impact on us, such as migration, extractivism, colonialism and the spiritual universe.”

When asked about the term identity, the artist states that, in her understanding, identity is “something in a constant state of flux.” In fact, she clarifies, she has defined herself in different ways, “as an Afro-Spanish woman or as a woman from the Manyu ethnic group (my father's) or simply as Spanish.” In his opinion, “the richness of life lies” in being able to “play with identity and explain ourselves differently at any moment.”

For his part, An Wei, an artist born in Madrid who then spent several years in China before returning to his native city, sees himself without conflict as part of the second generation group (that of children) of immigrants. in Spain. In this case, Lavapiés marks the origin of the sculpture presented therein, called Amparo, after one of the streets that “structure this neighborhood with the character of incoming travelers, immigrant communities and new generations”. It is a “staircase with the fragmentation that shapes the district and the relationships.”

Another artist of Asian descent, Weixin Quek Chong, who came to Madrid from Singapore about a decade ago, is showing sculptures in La Casa Encendida about the “juicy ties” that bind her to her place of origin. His works consist of “nests” (intertwined seaweeds covered in resin) and sheets of natural latex, as “this material is the blood (or sap) of rubber trees” from plantations where his own grandparents worked. Weixin explains that the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) is a plant native to Brazil, from whose sap latex is obtained, a valuable material for industrial use, also in the world of fashion and fetishism, because it adheres to leather like no other material liable. It was “one of the first export products of Malaysia and Singapore (from the jungles of Southeast Asia) at the initiative of the British, who wanted to compete with the South American rubber market.”

Regarding the possibility of looking at the place of origin from new perspectives, the Singaporean artist warns: “Sometimes it is difficult to learn about the original context unless you leave it.” And he adds: “I have become aware of elements that that were previously invisible (or normal) to me, such as the climate, which is an intense physical experience, or communal dynamics and aesthetics.”

When asked about the different community practices he alludes to, he points out that “the sense of space in Singapore is very different” because “there is little private space, you are always surrounded by a lot of people, on the move, and “Sometimes “You can be very isolated.” On the other hand, he emphasizes, “there is more of a feeling here that it is possible to have a private space as an individual.”

From the port of Callao to the Amazon

Among the arrivals from Latin America, the work of two Peruvian artists stands out. Daniel de la Barra landed in Europe at the age of 18 to “look for a life,” as he defined it at 31. His installation View as an Eagle's Flight is characterized by the dark red of a large triptych in which De La Barra satirizes extractivism. Strom, through a reinterpretation of Lunch on the Grass by Édouard Manet, with “the producers of all the transgenic seeds in the world” as central figures, as he himself states.

The artists participating in the exhibition on January 29th in Madrid.  The artists participating in the exhibition on January 29th in Madrid. Juan Naharro

“Companies have faces, why don’t they show them,” he emphasizes. The painting, which he says is also reminiscent of the style of Bruegel the Elder's disaster scenes, shows a tractor in front of the European Parliament and the landscapes that withstand the fumigation. He talks about the poisoning of the soil by pesticides and “the revenge of the yellow-headed chief,” a South American bird that in his painting “defecates from the cut-down soybeans on the heads of the main animal feed producers, the Amazon.” . In his work “there “There is no linear thinking in the sense of the indigenous cosmogony in which past, present and future always exist side by side,” says the painter, who drew caricatures of politicians as a child.

In front of the triptych, a canvas reproduces the “remake of a Franco film from 41 in which agrarian fascism was propagated”, as the artist defines it, since “the feeling of the farmer and the sense of identity of a nation.”, feeds on the Ideals of Romanticism to recreate an empire.” The tone of the original film remains, with the promotion of agricultural production “to feed the soldiers”, while the images are replaced with visits to hundreds of cities that were destroyed during Franco dictatorship were founded to “understand how they breathe this history”. Ghosts in the present,” he concludes.

Meanwhile, Raúl Silva presents a project linked to Peru's commercial history in the 19th century, which coincides with the first years of its independence. The starting point is the export of bird guano from the Chincha Islands (on the Pacific coast) to Anglo-Saxon countries. Since the droppings of this native bird called Guanay (Leucocarbo bougainvillii) contain high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, the British – the recipients of the islands – were responsible for distributing it as fertilizer, paying a percentage to the country of origin. Within this framework, the first railway line in South America was built (inaugurated in 1851), connecting the capital with the port of El Callao. “This transport line, financed with guano money, establishes this first connection between the country and the colonial powers of the world, through something produced in the cycle of nature and feeding the industry,” says Silva. This connection leads the artist to think about the other networks that link technological systems and computer vectors and how the speed of information is accelerating. His work is based on these considerations and captures them in oil paintings and moving images. His idea is to “depict the supposed infinity of capitalism’s growth in contrast to the limitation of material things.”

The jury for this edition of Generaciones included Carla Acevedo Yates of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; João Mourão, director of the Arquipélago Centro de Artes Contemporâneas; Luís Silva, director of the Lisbon Art Gallery, Lisbon, and Mabel Tapia, former deputy director of the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum. Each of the selected projects received 10,000 euros in production costs and fees.

The exhibition Generation 2024: Identity, memory and community of a generation with diverse roots born in the 1990s is open to the public until April 21 at La Casa Encendida in Madrid.

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