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Archeology of the present

October 19- November 25, 2023

There are numerous European anthropological studies - many born in the Canary Islands - that until just eighty years ago rejected the African origin of the indigenous Canary Islands. This European civilizational process that has been carried out since the conquest by the Crown of Castile in the 15th century has penetrated in such a way - stealthily but forcefully - that it has allowed an emotional, intellectual, cultural and physical de-Africanization of the Archipelago that lasts. until the present. This rejection, which obviously brings a whitish layer over the face of the Islands, has shaped a forgetful and stunned society that does not (re) recognize that the Berber tribes that once entered the sea to reach the Canary Islands are first cousins of those people who today reach the Canary coast aboard boats.


Starting from these readings, Rigoberto Camacho (Lanzarote, 1985) proposes an amalgam of hybrid narratives where he fuses different species of animals common in West Africa, elements linked to navigation, scarifications and geometric graphics that refer to the Canarian aboriginal culture, very similar. , by the way, to employees in various areas of the North African Berber geography. The artist presents a cultural as well as a visual assembly with which he generates a compendium of devices that allow him, on the one hand, to focus on peripheral discourses and bordering communities and, on the other, to discuss exoticization, migratory flows and historical trompe-l'oeil.


With his usual sculptural language constantly supported by appropriationist practices and the use of a wide range of materials - ranging from paper to enameled ceramics to polylactic acid -, Camacho displays a whole series of animals such as the wildebeest, the buffalo or the bongo, all of them known to be part of the list of migrant fauna from Africa, who mainly move in search of food. Significant is that the artist does not extract the image of the animal from Google Images, but rather goes to the representations made by different African tribes. In this way, we can find the effigy of a feline made by a carver from the Bwa tribe (Burkina Faso) combined with a door knocker in the shape of a lion's head that we can easily discover at the entrances of many European homes. Likewise, we observe different masks - a common element in the work of the Canarian artist - from the Senufo (Ivory Coast) or Baga (Republic of Guinea) peoples and Adinkra symbols (Ghana) that are juxtaposed with boat engines, life jackets or handles of bananas.


Rigoberto Camacho goes to the past again and again to question the present; an uncertain, chameleonic and violent present. And, there, in that tangled scenario full of various objects and structures where the artist places us, forcing us to explore each element, each gesture. Archeology of the present offers a window into understanding contemporary society through the lens of the past and challenges our preconceptions about what constitutes history. A way to understand our environment, our behaviors, our values and, of course, a way to know ourselves.


Adonay Bermúdez

© ON Art Space by Tila Barrena

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