Another Dose Of African And South American Art At Saatchi Gallery

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 42 months ago
Another Dose Of African And South American Art At Saatchi Gallery ★★☆☆☆ 2
This painting feels too surreal to capture the destruction of nature by humanity. Copyright Eduardo Berliner.
This painting feels too surreal to capture the destruction of nature by humanity. Copyright Eduardo Berliner.
The disintegrating nature of cardboard boxes creates a fading memory of childhood. Copyright Armand Boua.
The disintegrating nature of cardboard boxes creates a fading memory of childhood. Copyright Armand Boua.
97,000 blue plastic bags are a memorial to lives lost at sea in the slave trade. By Jean-Francois Bocle.
97,000 blue plastic bags are a memorial to lives lost at sea in the slave trade. By Jean-Francois Bocle.
These three dimensional paintings attempt to co-opt hats into creating a nude. Copyright Alexandre da Cunha.
These three dimensional paintings attempt to co-opt hats into creating a nude. Copyright Alexandre da Cunha.
These female portraits reflect on the globalisation of African identity. Copyright Eddy Kamuanga.
These female portraits reflect on the globalisation of African identity. Copyright Eddy Kamuanga.

Londonist Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Last year the Saatchi gallery put together an array of artists from Africa and Latin America, in a show called Pangaea. Although all the artists didn't impress us, there were some great works in the exhibition that were eye-catching and insightful. The latest exhibition at Saatchi gallery is the follow up to this show and it's unimaginatively titled Pangaea II — but can it live up to, or supersede, its predecessor?

The first room is visually arresting as 97,000 blue plastic bags are piled into a mound to represent the lives lost in the slave trade. Although it's an eye-catching work, the deeper message never comes through as it feels more like a contemporary monument than an historic one. This theme of visually striking works continues in the gallery with miniature trees made from wire and Aboudia's tribal masks given a cartoon-like makeover imbuing them with an undefined sense of threat.

One of our favourite works in this show is the paintings of people seen from behind by Dawit Abebe, where the jagged edges of his figures convey a sense of identity being lost. We also liked Armand Boua's depictions of children on cardboard boxes; the artist has torn and scratched at the image to convey a sense of these children fading away and how life is often undervalued.

This exhibition lacks the punch and imagination of the first Pangaea exhibition and while it contains some interesting works, much of the art on display either fails to excite or feels like the artists are still struggling to find their voices.

Pangaea II: New Art from Africa and Latin America is on at Saatchi gallery until 6 September. Entrance is free. For more great art to see in London, visit our top 10 art exhibitions to see in March.

Last Updated 16 March 2015