What's On - From Myth to Earth: Exploring Colombia Through Art
Posted on October 12 2016
Myth to Earth - A Sculptural Exploration of Colombia is currently on display at the Koppel Project Hive, London.
We sent writer Anna Souter to find out more...
An intriguing selection of paintings and sculptures exploring Colombia's unique history and mythology are currently on show at the Koppel Project Hive gallery. Artists Sol Bailey Barker and Gabriella Sonabend spent six months in Colombia discovering the country's unique landscape and recording the stories of the people they met. The result is an atmospheric exhibition that offers a new vision of the South American country.
The two artists started working together in 2014, when they realised they shared a fascination with mythology and history and in their thinking about how history can be reconsidered through socially engaged art.
Gabriella says, “we chose to go to Colombia because it's a country with such enormous cultural diversity, strong folklore and mythology and so many complex histories that are little known by the rest of the world. Colombia seemed like a country that was branded with stereotypes around Narcos and the drug trade. We wanted to instigate a project that reflected the true diversity of the country and gave something back to communities and changed this narrow perception from the outside world.”
While they were there, Sol Bailey Barker made a series of sculptures, which were left as emotive offerings in different locations. These included a carved fallen rubber tree placed in the Amazon jungle, and a sun-shaped work in wood and metal, which was thrown into the Cauca river. Each of these works also has a twin, on show at the Koppel Project alongside photographs of their counterparts in Colombia.
After returning from their trip, Gabriella and Sol began working with London's Colombian communities to discover how Colombian identity manifests itself in the UK. One of the results is a series of striking paintings by Gabriella, which combine portraiture and assemblage techniques.
The exhibition is intended to change public perceptions of Colombia and Colombian communities. As Gabriella says, “our exhibition has allowed us to talk to hundreds of people about Colombia and to work with communities in London who feel invisible. We have taken the time to explain the works in the exhibition to almost every visitor, continuing the Colombian tradition of storytelling whilst sharing our knowledge of Colombian history and our experiences.”
Visit the Koppel Project gallery for a unique artist-led insight into Colombia's fascinating and surprising culture.
What: From Myth to Earth: A Sculptural Exploration of Colombia
Where: The Koppel Project Hive, 26 Holborn Viaduct, EC1A 2AT
When: Until 29th October