Marieke Istha on Wed, 21 May 2008 19:54:55 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> Visual Foreign Correspondents presents Thando Mama

Visual Foreign Correspondents presents
Issue 7
Date: 13 May – 09 June 2008
Artists: Thando Mama
Country: South Africa
Title: Prayer, 2008

In collaboration with The Globalised Crystal Ball this is the seventh 
issue of Visual Foreign Correspondents. VFC is an independent platform 
in which 11 distinguished artists from around the world are invited each 
month to give their personal visual commentary on events and situations 
from their locally situated perspective. Their works especially created 
for urban screens and online platforms. This project will give people in 
the streets of Amsterdam a brief window into other regions, peoples and 
other kinds of imagination.

Thando Mama, an artist based in Cape Town, his work tackles many issues 
including the ways in which images of violence are connected to 
representations of black masculinity. Frequently he uses his own body, 
passive, silent and vulnerable, capturing the marginality of African 
subjects in general.

For Visual Foreign Correspondents, Mama has made ‘Prayer’ in which 
scenes of violence and extreme poverty are juxtaposed with an evocative, 
textured image sequence of men bending in Islamic prayer. The piece was 
made after a visit to Mali, where he witnessed a fellow artist who broke 
off discussion to begin praying. Mama described the strangeness of 
seeing people praying everywhere. He found himself, as he put it, 
“wanting to join them in prayer even though its not my religion or 
something that I would not normally do; It seemed to somehow to be a way 
to glimpse ‘the other’ in their most spiritual mind. I was looking at 
universal images of poverty, as well as hope for the future.”

Visual Foreign Correspondents is connected to The Globalised Crystal 
Ball, a series of monthly international seminars hosted by De Balie on 
globalisation and the future of the international community and spread 
over a full year. These monthly seminars feature internationally 
renowned speakers, examining the changing nature of globalisation. The 
screen-based artworks play an important role in contributing an 
alternative perspective to these meetings. Artist’s contribution to this 
event is not simple illustration but provides another kind of 
imaginative response to these subjects.

The work will be launched during the seminar event of the Globalised 
Crystal Ball in the conference space. An introduction to the work will 
be given, making a connection to the seminar and the ideas of the artist.
Independent from the seminar the work will then feature on the urban 
screen outside the ‘Balie’ every night for a month, on the The 
Contemporary Art Screen, at the Zuidas and in 11-Reatuarant Bar Club, 
part of Post-CS, museum of modern art, Amsterdam. These screens will be 
in relationship to a specially designed website and ‘Oog’. The VFC 
website will show the work and contextualize it with political, social 
and cultural background information. Furthermore it will give 
information about the project and a possibility for the audience to 
The work will also feature in ‘OOG’, a commentary and opinion platform 
that is part the online edition of De Volkskrant, a major Dutch daily 
national newspaper. Here the work will feature for a week as part of the 
continuing series of artist commentaries.

Screen locations
De Balie: Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, Amsterdam
CASZ: Zuidplein, Amsterdam
11/Restaurant bar club: Oosterdokskade 3-5, Amsterdam

Visual Foreign Correspondents
Artistic director: Nanette Hoogslag
Editors: Annet Dekker, David Garcia, Nat Muller, Petra Heck and Eric 

Thanks to:
Visual Foreign Correspondents is made possible by Amsterdamse Fonds voor 
de Kunsten, VSB, De Balie and the NetherlandsMedia Art Institute
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