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Where Thou Art - That - is Home
Ikeorah Chisom Chi-FADA | Franklyn Dzingai | Feni Chulumanco | Sethembile Msezane | Katlego Tlabela 

Opening day: April 2nd 2024 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

April 3rd,  – June 1st, 2024

Osart Gallery, Corso Plebisciti 12, 20129 Milan

Home is the space within which we move and that we try to shape in our image and likeness, a reflection of its inhabitants that tells and keeps a lot of their personality. In contemporary art too, the recent historical experience of the pandemic has contributed to find a new awareness in the domestic space, living it either as a physical or a mental space, sometimes even turning it into a political manifesto.


The act of “dwelling” does not only involve occupying a space, but also extends to the symbolic sphere, that of living in a place connected to our loved ones and family ties. The English language offers a profound reflection on the difference between the terms house and home, i.e. the same that exists between the physical structure and the dimension of affection and emotion. The house therefore turns into a temple for its residents, a small ancient world at the heart of which stands the fireplace, center of gravity of its community. The concept of intérieur, according to philosopher Walter Benjamin, is theorized through the analogy between the interior of the house and the interiority of our soul. In his perspective, the entrance door serves as a threshold of communication between the soul and the outer world.


The concept of Ubuntu lies at the core of the African culture: “I exist because you exist; you exist because we exist”. Such universalistic approach underlines the importance of relationships, where the context creates the cohexistence between past and present. In households, the worship and respect for the ancestors play a paramount role: their presence lingers in the domestic space and they actively participate in the life events of the newer generations. In their practice likewise, artists Ikeorah Chisom Chi-FADA, Franklyn Dzingai, Feni Chulumanco, Sethembile Msezane, and Katlego Tlabela, they all turn the domestic space into actual subject exactly like the human presence, sparking neorealistic, metaphysical and conceptual narratives. Hence the show title, Where Thou Art – That – is Home, the opening verse of a poem by Emily Dickinson, that explores themes of devotion and the absolute power of love. Home – real or imagined does not matter - is where our beloved ones are.


The selected works aim at ideally recreate a domestic setting within the premises of Osart Gallery, balancing the presence of paintings with installations. The works of Sethembile Msezane are in fact hybrids of colonial-style pieces of furniture (mantelpieces, mirrors, headboards) combined with photographic elements, contrasting with Feni Chulumanco's highly texturized rugs and cozy domestic descriptions; the tableaux-vivants of black-owned, lavish environments depicted by Katlego Tlabela, which restore a visually-striking historical overturn; the dreamlike narratives scapes of Ikeorah Chisom Chi-FADA, whose crystallized atmospheres are capable of directly affecting the viewer and reach their deepest emotions; and finally the retro-style, pop interiors created by Franklyn Dzingai using silkscreen and collage techniques, in which the artist places the most diverse range of everyday objects(oil lamps, vinyl records, old stereos and rotary telephones) which serve as an ideal bridge between past and present.

The show is accompanied by a text by Nicolas Ballario.



Artists on display: Ikeorah Chisom Chi-FADA (Nigeria, 2000) | Franklyn Dzingai (Zimbabwe, 1988) | Feni Chulumanco (South Africa, 1994) | Sethembile Msezane (South Africa, 1991) | Katlego Tlabela (South Africa, 1993)


Nicolas Ballario (1984) deals with contemporary art applied to media. His career starts at Oliviero Toscani's factory 'La Sterpaia', where he is appointed Cultural Manager. He collaborates with some of the most important art institutions and magazines. In 2016, he becomes the youngest recipient of the prestigious Premio Bassani, awarded to journalists who stand out within the cultural and environmental field. He is currently writer and radio host for Radio Uno Rai, and a contributor for Rolling Stone magazine, Corriere della Sera's 'Living' issue, and il Giornale dell'Arte. In 2019 he hosts “Camera Oscura” on LA7, a tv format about photography, and from 2020 the shows “Io ti vedo, tu mi senti?”, “The Square”, and “Italia Contemporanea” on Sky Arte.

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