There’s long been a hunger in Western art galleries for the creativity of the so-called ‘margins’. Whether its Picasso gazing at Dan African masks in the Trocadero or Jean-Hubert Martin curating outsider artists for Magiciens de la Terre, there has been fascination for the seeming more unconstrained, primitive creativity that emerges in distant continents like Africa.
Yet while the gaze of Western art extends well beyond its borders, the business of art itself seems very much confined to the metropolitan centres. There is an assumption for any culture to realise its potential in art that it will be manifested in spaces like the Venice Biennial, Tate Modern and the many museums of contemporary art throughout the transatlantic.
What if a community in that other world decided to host its own art event? Rather than spend millions setting up a satellite biennale, jetting in the art world, what if they sold tickets for a virtual presence? The outside audience would enable the event by their purchase, and in return obtain restricted information about the kind of world that emerges.
The Chilean architect Claudio Torres, who has been working in the Nairobi ghetto of Mathare, has developed a project with the locals to host a competition for a painted mural on a rented ghetto wall. You can see him explain the project here:
More than that, tickets are still available. They are limited, so book soon.