Ro­muald Ha­zoumè

The Week Middle East - - Arts -

at Oc­to­ber Gallery The on­go­ing Mediter­ranean refugee cri­sis is a tragedy with no dis­cernible end in sight, which may be the rea­son that few con­tem­po­rary artists have dared broach the sub­ject in their work. But the Benin-born artist Ro­muald Ha­zoumè, has ad­dressed this most in­tractable of hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ters head on. This new ex­hi­bi­tion looks at the per­ils of the cross­ing, the venomous op­por­tunism of the peo­ple traf­fick­ers who fa­cil­i­tate it and Europe’s incoherent re­sponse to the cri­sis as a whole. The show fea­tures a series of sculp­tural in­stal­la­tions cob­bled to­gether from a baf­fling range of ma­te­ri­als. The most af­fect­ing of these is ti­tled Tricky Dicey Die – a large die, the dots of which have been re­placed by the out­lines of dead chil­dren, rem­i­nis­cent of Ay­lan Kurdi, the Syr­ian boy of Kur­dish de­scent who drowned in the Mediter­ranean. The mes­sage isn’t hard to de­ci­pher: the odds are loaded against these des­per­ate peo­ple. But then again, the sub­ject mat­ter does not call for artis­tic sub­tlety. Prices on ne­go­ti­a­tion. 24 Old Glouces­ter Street, London WC1 (020-7242 7367). Un­til 26 Novem­ber Peo­ple in the art in­dus­try of­ten like to speak out against the ills of so­ci­ety, said Christy Yao in The Guardian, but China’s cel­e­brated 3D artist, Qi Xinghua, is hav­ing none of it. “No­body lis­tens to your ap­peals,” he tells them. “You’re bet­ter off tak­ing ac­tion.” Which is just what Qi him­self is do­ing. Armed with a can of spray paint, a gas mask and a box of chalk, he’s on a mis­sion, as he puts it, “to beau­tify the scars of the city”.With Banksy as in­spi­ra­tion, Qi has bright­ened some of the bleak­est ur­ban spa­ces in China, said What­sOnWeibo.com, paint­ing a cheeky crocodile on a fa­mously di­lap­i­dated wall in Beijing, plac­ing two pan­das at the bro­ken en­trance to a hous­ing es­tate (pic­tured), and daub­ing weep­ing dragons on a de­mo­li­tion site in Shang­hai. Graf­fiti isn’t il­le­gal in China, but all too of­ten city reg­u­la­tors take pains to ruin his work. The pan­das, for ex­am­ple, have been “re­dec­o­rated” with ad­ver­tise­ments. How­ever, Qi is undis­mayed. “A city needs its tattoos,” he tweets. “Tell me what city would like it and I will come and paint.”

Tchi­gan (2015)28 x 27 x 20 cm

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