Approximatly 541 million years ago, during a period known as the Cambrian Explosion, oxygen levels allowed for the evolution of new life forms. Just like a fuse that needs oxygen to ignite. It caused an abundance of diverse species. This exhibition presents an outburst of fresh work by two artists with different approaches, but similar mentalities. As Fraser Stewart puts it: Nowadays the political forces in power take the oxygen to control us. Literally by using mace spray during riots, even so metaphorical, taking breathing space through repression.
Stewart’s ceramic busts and objects are drawn from the improvised equipment that rioters and protestors make for themselves. Goggles, gas masks and hoodies gets militaristic function and are used for protection of their physique and identity. Stewart uses the contrast between the fragility of ceramics and symbols of power to reflect on the position of protesters. His use of urban stereotypes connects with Marcel van den Berg’s work, that is strongly influenced by graffiti and black music. Identity and black culture are central to his work. His colour use is limited to black and white, green red yellow and gold, rooted in the colour scheme of Rastafari and Pan-African Movement.
Both Stewart and Van den Berg are concerned with the political position of the individual in society, with stereotypes and the potential power of the underdog.
Many thanks to the Gemeente Leeuwarden, Mondriaan Fonds, Fryslan-Leeuwarden 2018. EKWC, AFK, Stichting Stokroos