Gratmore studio - Cape Town / Nov 2009
3 televisions, metal, ostrich bones, horns, porcupine quills, videoprojector, sound.
A video Installation by Haitian visiting artist – Maksaens Denis
Thursday 1st of October – Wednesday 7th of October 2009
GCAMAGWINI – is a term of “agrement” in Xhosa.
The idea for using this title came from a meeting Maksaens Denis had with a Nyanga or as he refers to, a “Mambo”. Coming from Haiti were “Mambos” or traditional healers play important part of the culture and of everyday life, it was only natural for Maksaens to invistigate this practice here in Cape Town.
He describes how at his meeting, she cast small bones, consulted their arrangment, found a solution and ended the prediction with Gcamagwini.
There is no direct translation but in effect it means – “Do you accept?”
In response the recipient should answer back with Gcamagwini – I accept!
Maksaens Denis, a well known comtemporary Haitian artist came to Greatmore Studios, Cape Town on a six week residency programme sponsored by Culturesfrance, Fokal and Ministry of Culture in Haiti. During his time here he has collected a lot of video footage using small digital video camera and stills cameras. After laborious amounts of time editing and manipulating the imagery, he has constructed pieces of film to form unique beautiful stories which are then projected and integrated upon powerful sculptures made from bones, metal and old television screens. There is no denying that his aesthetic is both appeling and mesmerizing and his imagery is by no means random. His stories are commentaries of social issues including, cultural belief systems, politics and day to day existence. They are mixed with powerful scupltures to place these issues into a cultural and artistic context. For example, a porcupine TV that speaks about politics.
Maksaens had to say about his work, “my installation speaks about reality and spirituality, about life and death. It is perfectly fitting to use both iron and bone to represent these polarities”.
Maksaens has been a great addition to the studios according fellow visiting artist, the bringing together of different cultures from different continents has been an eye opening experience as they discovered the similarities in their cultures.
Special thanks to Greatmore studios, Culturesfrance, FOKAL, Ministry of Culture in Haiti,
Kathy Coates, Linda Shongwe, and Gavin to helping me find the bones!