‘I will build a great wall and nobody builds better walls than me, believe me’ Donald Trump, announcing his candidacy on June 16, 2015.
The US election looms in a world increasingly divided between those who demand the construction and fortification of borders and those who are forced to somehow flee across them because of war, oppression or poverty.
Pulling Down The Walls connects the work of Galerie number 8 artists to the current political climate in the US whilst looking further to the chaos that lies beyond.
The world is becoming more and more divided with powerless disenfranchised people being driven to extremism and fear of outsiders.
Some photographs in this collection intentionally address these issues, like Justin French, in his series The Unwilling Martyrs who touches on the experiences and pains of the black lives matter movement's messaging and gaps in representation. Others such as Hector Mediavilla who took a series of photographs along the US /Mexican border in 3 of the 4 northern Border States or Leonard Pongo whose ‘Uncanny’ series taken in the Congo looks at the strange magic of life in the DRC more clearly document the harshness of the lives of the people and places they photograph .
What unifies this collection's response to a divisive political atmosphere is a real fearlessness to the artists showing here. Other artists in The Pulling Down The Walls collection communicate a positive and powerful message that also connects with the current context… Campbell Addy with his unique striking shots takes us on a journey from heritage to pride empowerment and unity, for example the picture of the black hands is very symbolic… Nicolas Henry is like a painter building cinematrographic sets with his sitters, creating a « better" imaginary world.
Ivan Forde and David Uzochukwu have both a more surreal, almost fictional approach. Ivan is the super hero of his imagery, he can do anything, but not be anyone (his caracters are strong, powerful and on a mission)… David creates beautiful peacefull imagery that has a freshness and innocence that brings into relief the knowingness of some of the other artists visions.
“If you were to ask me what attracts me to the work of the Galerie Number 8 artists I would say that they are all unusually brave. From the work of Justin French, who touches on the experiences and pains of the black lives matter movement's messaging and gaps in representation, to Héctor Mediavilla who took a series of photographs along the US /Mexican border in 3 of the 4 northern Border States, to Leonard Pongo whose ‘Uncanny’ series taken in the Congo looks at the strange magic of life in the DRC there is a real fearlessness to the artists I represent. They are all, in different ways, tearing down the walls that divide us and drawing in the audience that views their work into the understanding that we cannot and will not be barricaded against and kept out of a world that belongs to all of us.’