By Stephanie Dar
Discarded items are utilized to create thought-provoking pieces that symbolize different social issues throughout the continent of Africa. The African Art Against the State exhibit at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts showcases a wide variety of pieces created with readily available materials that African artists have utilized to encourage advocacy and raise awareness of the repression of different groups during modern times.
One artist in particular, Fabrice Monteiro, utilized discarded plastics, Styrofoam aluminum cans, and other pieces of trash from his native Senegal to create striking couture pieces.
In The Prophecy, Untitled #1, the viewer is forced to confront the consequences of waste and over-consumption as an elegant goddess adorned in discarded materials emerges from one of Senegal’s largest trash pits. The artist also raises awareness of global climate change through the effects of human actions on the earth. It is difficult to predict the effect our current actions will have on future generations.
Another of Monteiro’s pieces, The Prophecy, Untiled #2, showcases a model adorned in black plastics and cotton holding a deceased bird and emerging from the depths of the ocean. The viewer is once again forced to confront the overarching issue of pollution and its detrimental effects on the environment in the state of Senegal.
One positive takeaway from this portion of the exhibit is the benefits of ‘upcycling’; both of these photos have focused on turning trash into something beautiful.
African Art Against the State runs through August 28, 2016
Williams College Museum of Art
15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Ste 2
Williamstown, MA 01267