RANY passport

Last month I spent three weeks in the Cape Verde Islands, Africa. While I was in “Cabo Verde” –as the locals call it — I established a partnership with two different art initiatives to co-curate two separate exhibitions.

My first project, Shades of Morna, was in collaboration with international design outfit Sabura Art + Design. The exhibition featured an extensive photographic survey (mostly shot in B+W) of Cabo Verdean dancers and musicians by Swiss-German photographer Joe Wuerfel.

My second project, Agora: Fantasia (Part 1) was tethered to an inaugural artist in residency program, iSolAIR, whose mission is to serve as a partage and vessel for multi-faceted circular exchange and global dialogue. The exhibition premiered a new series of colorful origami accordion books whose colors and patterns underscored the musicality of Cabo Verde by American interdisciplinary artist Peter D. Gerakaris.

The fact that the exhibitions were diametrically opposed in terms of medium, style and sensibility served as a wonderful introduction to the melding pot that is Cabo Verde.

Joe Wurefel

Joe Wurefel

Perpetually dressed in pastels with a shock of shaggy Warholian hair, Joe Wuerfel is a cool cat with many lives.  He spent a good amount of time hanging with the NY art scene back in the 80s (ie- Peter Beard & Julian Schnabel). After 20 years of working in the industry as a lifestyle photographer, Wuerfel transitioned into making social landscapes and portraits of people all over Africa. Wuerfel now lives in Mindelo, a coastal town on the island of Sao Vicente, which is part of the Cabo Verdean islands. During his tenure in Mindelo, Wuerfel formed a great relationship with revered morna chanteuse Cesaria Evora, and repeatedly photographed her performances. The current show, Shades of Morna, is a visual celebration of musicians and dancers of Cabo Verde, with a selection of photographs by Wuerfel and objects by local artisans. Located at Cinema de Praia in Plateau, the exhibition will run during the 2014 edition of the AME (Atlantic Music Expo) and the Kriol Jazz Festival.

JW Shades of Morna preview

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The other artist I collaborated with in Cabo Verde is a New York based, interdisciplinary artist named Peter D. Gerakaris.  I have worked with Gerakaris for a few years now on various projects and have written extensively about his work, therefore it made sense for us to join forces again in West Africa. Gerakaris was invited to Cabo Verde for two months to launch the inaugural Artist in Residence program iSolAIR.  His solo exhibition, Agora: Fantasia (Part 1), was a reflection of his time and experiences in the African archipelago. Bursting with tropical colors and neo-geo patterns, the show features a range of dynamic works that include Gerakaris’ signature origami fold accordion books, a psychedelic mask series executed in gouache, pen, ink and acrylic paint on paper, and brightly colored digital c-prints of vignettes from his accordion books. Located at a pop-up space in Praia, the exhibition will run during the 2014 edition of the AME (Atlantic Music Expo) and the Kriol Jazz Festival. Both the founder of iSolAIR, Marc de Bourcy, and Gerakaris will be in attendance for the opening reception.

Installation shot of Agora: Fantasia (Part 1), solo show by Peter D. Gerakaris

Installation shot of Agora: Fantasia (Part 1), solo show by Peter D. Gerakaris

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