‘It is not a dead society that we want to revive. We leave that to those who go in for exoticism.’
―Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism
Grove Collective is pleased to present the upcoming group exhibition Season of Migration, featuring artists Christian Camacho, Francisca Sosa López, and Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude, on view in person at the gallery’s Battersea space, as well as online through the Grove Collective website from October 14th to October 26th. This is the first time that Grove Collective has worked with any of these artists, and marks the first time that this group has shown together.
In a world that has been entirely redefined in recent memory, what is the state of the relationship between old world centres and their globalised, postcolonial counterparts? How have these relationships been recast along cultural, economic, and social lines in the new world order? Derived from the title of the classic 1966 postcolonial novel Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration draws into dialogue the work of three artists whose careers have brought them to occupy the amorphous, often fluid middle-ground between centre and periphery. Specifically, Camacho is Mexican, working in Mexico, but educated in London; Sosa López is Venezuelan, but educated and working in London; and Nyaude is Zimbabwean, but has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Coming from these varied contexts, Season of Migration looks to interrogate the artistic products of living – both intellectually and literally – between traditional and emergent sites of globalised production in today’s world.
However, despite important historical records concerning labor extraction, resource depletion, and the subjugation of local populations, Season of Migration resists an insistence on directions of influence – either from periphery to centre by way of colonial appropriation, or conversely, from centre to periphery through postcolonial paradigms defined by exertions of “soft power.” Indeed, the globalisation of art and culture has necessitated a reformulation of binarised conceptions of power and influence, making claims to legitimate “centres” obsolete. Thus, this exhibition seeks not to explore how Camacho, Sosa López, or Nyaude share in, repurpose, or counter the predominant norms of Western art, but instead how these norms exist among a range of influences that themselves take from, introduce to, or entirely disregard Western imperatives.
For Grove Collective, this signals an important turn towards a global outlook; both Jacob Barnes and Morgane Wagner have sought to program an exhibition that is as much an intellectual as it is a visual offering, encouraging viewers to ask questions that extend beyond the walls of the gallery. Moreover, it poses an opportunity for the gallerists to share in exploration with the viewer: both Western-raised and -educated, Barnes and Wagner look to expand their own outlooks beyond that which is familiar, and encourage the viewer to join in this process of reevaluation and reeducation, taking cues from artists who are necessarily well-versed in both Western and non-Western cultures and artistic traditions. In turn, both Barnes and Wagner have begun comparable work through their subsidiary project, Backhaus Projects, and look to continue using both gallery and project programming to inform an internationalised outlook.
Special Thanks to First Floor Gallery Harare.