Tag Archives: fiber art

MALIZA KIASUWA featured in Nation and allAfrica

28 Jun

Kenya: Artist Takes Pride in Her Ancestry

By Margaretta Wa Gacheru

Having transformed a hay-filled barn into a giant home studio, Malisa Kiasuwa has been working throughout the Covid-19 lockdown preparing for two exhibitions currently underway overseas. One is in Washington, DC, while the other is in London.

Both sharing the theme, The Pride of Origins, the Naivasha-based Malisa has previously exhibited in Nairobi at Circle Art Gallery and at Alliance Francaise. But Amy Morton of the Morton Fine Art Gallery in Washington found Malisa on Instagram, the social medium currently accommodating many local fine artists.

Nonetheless, while visiting Kenya in 2019, Morton found her way to Circle Art where she got an even better impression of Malisa’s organically-based artistry.

“Amy was and still is interested in featuring contemporary African art at her gallery, which is how she got to know me,” says the Belgian-Congolese artist whose 21 collages and wall hangings featured in her first solo show in DC from June 2to 22.

Soulful spotlight

Meanwhile, another 16 of Malisa’s collages are featuring now at the Sulger-Buel Gallery in London, where the artist has set her soulful spotlight on not just the Pride of Origins but specifically on the notion of ancestry.

Malisa works with an array of mixed media, including organic materials like raffia grass, sisal rope, handmade papers, scraps of fabric, and threads made out of cotton and silk, silver and gold. She blends them with found objects that she collects during her frequent walks around the lake and Naivasha town.

The upcycling of found objects appeal to the artist’s concern for conservation. Her use of organic materials reflects her desire to stay close to the purity of nature. But during the lockdown, Malisa reflected upon all the many clashing contradictions festering in the world, including the ‘virus of racism’ and the coronavirus, the Black Lives Matter movement and the rise of white supremacy.

An example of reconciliation

She desires to see the reconciliation of these extremes, a coming together of disparate elements in the name of peace.

“I see myself as an example of reconciliation since my background is both European and African,” says Malisa.

In a sense, both exhibitions are about Identity, reconciliation, and ‘the pride of origins’. These themes are symbolised most visibly in her London show where she includes collages that combine engraved portraits of 18th-century European aristocrats upon whose faces Malisa has affixed wooden West African masks (the kind that enthralled Western artists like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse).

“I found the engravings of my [Swiss] husband’s ancestors in an attic of his family’s home,” says Malisa who saw the etchings had been forgotten, so she brought them back to Kenya where she and her family have been living since 2013.

Treating them like the other ‘found objects’ that she uses to upcycle into her art, the masks superimposed on the faces of these bourgeois white men are meant to symbolize what reconciliation might look like. Yet the juxtaposition of the two-dimensional etchings and the three-dimensional masks could also be interpreted in other ways, either to amuse or to annoy.

There’s an irony of her embellishing the men’s portraits with African masks which had once been used in sacred rituals and infused with mystical powers. At the same time, Western aristocrats are not the only ‘nobility’ in the London show.

Malisa herself comes from West African nobility. “My father’s ‘tribe’ is Ndongo, the same one as Queen Zinga [or Nzinga] of Congo,” she recalls. Noting that Zinga was renowned for her military and diplomatic leadership which is credited for fending off Portuguese colonialism and slave trade for over 30 years.

Zinga is often identified as coming from Angola, but Malisa explains the Ndongo kingdom, before the colonial carving up of Africa in the 19th century, traversed northern Angola as well as southern Congo.

“Our people had lived on the border of what is now Congo,” says Malisa, adding that she wants her children to take pride in their shared ancestry.

In both exhibitions, there is at least one explicitly autobiographic collage featuring a mug shot of the artist wearing a crown, either made of hand-made paper or animal skin. As if enthroned in her exhibition just as Queen Zinga headed her vast kingdom, the letter ‘Z’ is emblazoned on each crown, standing at once for Zinga and for Zaire, which was the name of her country at the time that she was born.

Read the original article on Nation.

Available artwork by MALIZA KIASUWA

Morton Fine Art, 52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001 USA

http://www.mortonfineart.com

info@mortonfineart.com

+001 (202) 628-2787 (call or text)

“The Pride of Origins” – A solo exhibition of collage and fiber art by Kenya-based MALIZA KIASUWA

7 Jun

The Pride of Origins

A solo exhibition of collage and fiber art by MALIZA KIASUWA

June 2 – June 30, 2021

Video by Jarrett Hendrix

Contact the gallery for private viewing appointment, price list, additional information and acquisition.

(202) 628-2787 (call or text)

info@mortonfineart.com

Featuring twenty-one works by the artist, The Pride of Origins recreates the precarious and ever-evolving equilibrium between the handmade and the manufactured through the juxtaposition of material. Underscoring the cultural and commercial exchange between continents, Kiasuwa’s technically masterful works explore the ironies of post-colonial politics and invent new futures through imbrication, embroidery, and the combination of heterogenous objects. Pride of Origins will be on view from June 2 – June 30, 2021.

Kiasuwa’s constructions are deeply rooted in the cultural, social, and political context of Kenya, but more generally of Africa and the world. Combining handmade materials from Japan with found objects from around her farm on Lake Naivasha, in the heart of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, Kiasuwa embraces her chosen material’s earlier character and vocabulary, but transfigures their context by sewing, stitching and mending to produce unexpected narratives and representations of society, events, and global issues. As a visual artist of European and African descent, Kiasuwa brings a panoptic perspective to her border-crossing work, which regards the coexistence of two worlds as an endless source of inspiration, and a potential space for reconciliation.

“My sculptures and collages are made of bits and pieces that I collect during my daily expeditions: cotton threads, handmade ropes made of straw or rubber, plastic bags stranded on the lake shore,” said visual artist Maliza Kiasuwa. “These materials are representative of culture and history in the context of the global flow of goods, especially in terms of how their utility values shift over time. Sometimes I combine local materials with handmade fabrics such as Japanese Washi paper. I like to blend materials which don’t belong together.”

Presenting all new work from 2021, Pride of Origins unveils recent developments in Kiasuwa’s practice, which is an ongoing examination of her identity as a woman of both African and European descent, scrutinizing the meaning of duality and otherness. The very distinct, but sometimes rival, traditions of local culture and the Church similarly ungird the artist’s exploration of a “double belonging.” Pride of Origin honors the raw, natural beauty of the artist’s environment, while also challenging assumptions of value in material culture to highlight the interconnectedness of the post-colonial landscape and its inheritance of consumer society.

About MALIZA KIASUWA:

Maliza Kiasuwa, born in 1975, is a visual artist of European and African descent. She lives and works in Kenya. She creates works with stimulating and eclectic elements celebrating Africa’s mystic power of nature by using raw materials and traditional symbols of energy that flow through the veins of the continent. She transforms everyday articles by combining reductive methods of shredding and twisting with constructive processes of tying, weaving, stitching and dyeing. The process is fluid, focused and becomes a meditation. Maliza Kiasuwa has exhibited in Kenya, Switzerland, Italy, England and the United States. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2021.

About MORTON FINE ART:

Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC by curator Amy Morton, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is a fine art gallery and curatorial group that collaborates with art collectors and visual artists to inspire fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art. Firmly committed to the belief that art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice. Morton Fine Art specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

COVID-19 protocol: By appointment. Mask required. Contact the gallery for supplementary artwork documentation such as detail images and short videos. Safe, no contact door to door delivery available. Shipping nationally and internationally.

Available Artwork by MALIZA KIASUWA

ADIA MILLETT’s solo exhibition “The Moon is Always Full” at Morton Fine Art in DC

29 Mar

Showcasing a range of paintings and textiles by California-based artist ADIA MILLETT, The Moon Is Always Full investigates a cosmic utopia where the moral and metaphysical intermingle and converge.

Portal, 2018, 24″x24″, acrylic on panel

The Moon Is Always Full

A solo exhibition of paintings & textile artwork by ADIA MILLETT

March 25 – April 22, 2021

Contact the gallery for private viewing appointment, price list, additional information and acquisition.

(202) 628-2787 (call or text)

info@mortonfineart.com


Available artwork by ADIA MILLETT

About The Moon Is Always Full
Weaving threads of African American experiences with broader ideas of identity, and collective history, my work investigates the fragile interconnectivity among all living things. Fragmented, constructed, and reassembled, I shed light on the multifaceted and complex parallels between the creative process and the nature of personal identity. My paintings feature abstracted, geometric shapes that imply movement – colorful forms expand and collapse freely among glittery backgrounds with hints of landscape and structural objects such as rooftops, windows and doors. While the textiles draw on the domestic and artistic traditions of quilt-making, they are pieced together, combining culturally diverse fabrics. While my work pays homage to the past through the use of repurposed fabrics and historical iconography, its bright atheistic imagery is informed by the future. The art reminds us of the importance of renewal and rebuilding, not only through the artistic process, but also through the possibility of transformative change. – ADIA MILLETT

Using a range of process-oriented techniques, Millett takes things apart, removes, replaces, cuts, pastes, sews, and rebuilds to discover the space where transitions occur and where stories of impermanence unfold. Her work weaves together threads of Black American experiences with broader ideas of identity and collective history, suggesting the fragile interconnectivity among all living things. Constructing works assembled from vibrant and textured fragments to fashion a meaning greater than its individual elements, Millett illuminates the multidimensional parallels between the creative process and the nature of personal identity.

ADIA MILLETT, originally from Los Angeles, California received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. In 2001, she moved to New York City for the prestigious Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, followed by the Studio Museum in Harlem residency program. Millett has been a standout in numerous group exhibitions including the well-received “Greater New York” show at PS1 in Long Island City, New York and “Freestyle” at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Barbican Gallery in London; The Craft and Folk Museum in LA; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta; The Santa Monica Museum of Art; and The Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans. Millett has taught as an artist in residence at Columbia College in Chicago, UC Santa Cruz, Cooper Union in NY, and California College of the Arts. Millett currently lives and works in Oakland. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2020.
About Morton Fine Art

Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC by curator Amy Morton, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is a fine art gallery and curatorial group that collaborates with art collectors and visual artists to inspire fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art. Firmly committed to the belief that art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice. Morton Fine Art specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.

Morton Fine Art
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001

COVID-19 protocol: By appointment. Mask required. Contact the gallery for supplementary artwork documentation such as detail images and short videos. Safe, no contact door to door delivery available. Shipping nationally and internationally.

ADIA MILLETT discusses artwork in her solo “The Moon is Always Full”

25 Mar

Opens today, March 25 – April 22, 2021.

By appointment only.

info@mortonfineart.com

(202) 628-2787 (call or text)

Video by Jarrett Hendrix

My process is informed by taking things apart, removing, replacing, cutting, pasting, sewing, and building, in order to discover the space where transitions occur and where stories of impermanence unfold. Weaving threads of African American experiences with broader ideas of identity, and collective history, my work investigates the fragile interconnectivity among all living things. Fragmented, constructed, and reassembled, I shed light on the multifaceted and complex parallels between the creative process and the nature of personal identity. My paintings feature abstracted, geometric shapes that imply movement – colorful forms expand and collapse freely among glittery backgrounds with hints of landscape and structural objects such as rooftops, windows and doors. While the textiles draw on the domestic and artistic traditions of quilt-making, they are pieced together, combining culturally diverse fabrics. While my work pays homage to the past through the use of repurposed fabrics and historical iconography, its bright atheistic imagery is informed by the future. The art reminds us of the importance of renewal and rebuilding, not only through the artistic process, but also through the possibility of transformative change. – ADIA MILLETT

MILLETT, originally from Los Angeles, California received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. In 2001, she moved to New York City for the prestigious Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, followed by the Studio Museum in Harlem residency program. Millett has been a standout in numerous group exhibitions including the well-received “Greater New York” show at PS1 in Long Island City, New York and “Freestyle” at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Barbican Gallery in London; The Craft and Folk Museum in LA; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta; The Santa Monica Museum of Art; and The Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans. Millett has taught as an artist in residence at Columbia College in Chicago, UC Santa Cruz, Cooper Union in NY, and California College of the Arts. Millett currently lives and works in Oakland. She has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2020.

New artwork by JULIA MAE BANCROFT

25 Jun
We are proud to announce the arrival of new artworks by DC based artist JULIA MAE BANCROFT.  A graduate of the Corcoran College of Art & Design, Bancroft intricately and thoughtfully hand-stitches her mixed media artworks on paper. Each piece incorporates natural fibers including hemp, Merino wool and bamboo to complement her figurative monoprint drawings which are also laced with oil paint, watercolor paint and conte crayon. A typical artwork in her series Mending Moments takes 50-60 hours to complete.

About Mending Moments:

Mending Moments is a title that describes both the literal process and conceptual ideas behind the artwork I make. I carefully “mend” the surface of my images by stitching various fibers directly into the paper by hand, rearranging its parts and binding the pieces back together to form a new ethereal moment for reflection.”

-Julia Mae Bancroft, 2016

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Please contact Morton Fine Art for additional details on acquiring artwork by JULIA MAE BANCROFT

 

Morton Fine Art (MFA)
1781 Florida Ave NW (at 18th & U Sts)
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 628-2787
mortonfineart.com
mortonfineart@gmail.com

Hours:  Tuesday through Saturday 11 am – 6 pm and Sunday 12 – 6pm