The El Salvador-born, Denmark-based photographer will team up with Guatemalan artist Pablo Swezey and public participants to create his pragmatic vision, Tabula Rasa.
The Ezulwini Valley will become a hive of culture and art when the MTN Bushfire
: Swaziland’s International Festival of the Arts
takes place from 25 to 27 May and Tabula Rasa is certain to be one of the indelible highlights of the event.
The installation is a stunning space intervention and involves painting a local house and all its contents white, thereby erasing its original culture, and transforming it into a new canvas to kickstart a dialogue about cultural loss and recovery, identity and memory.
“The Tabula Rasa will involve painting the living room of a local community member entirely white, thereby changing the metaphysical atmosphere of the room,” Paredes says.
The room, and its entire inventory, is painted white: the walls, floor, roof, lamps, furniture, pictures, adornments, carpets, radios, television and even the spiderwebs. The space is transformed into a new canvas or ‘white cube’ where a photograph of the room showing its original form or culture is exhibited as the only work in the ‘new gallery’. The photograph in space, has been taken minutes before the painting process begins, as the last record of the room in its ‘original’ form.
“The work offers a profound insight into the abstract world that the human mind inhabits,” says Paredes.
Tabula Rasa hopes to provide the local community with a new psychological experience that aims to initiate a process of reflection on the issues and awake unique associations in each viewer. The exhibit also seeks to start a dialogue about culture, identity, memory, colonialism and globalisation, cultural loss and recovery and much more.
Tabula Rasa was first done in a local house at Santa Ana, near Antigua, Guatemala.
Paredes was born in El Salvador in 1966. He lives and works in Denmark where he also teaches art and photography. He works mainly with photography as his medium of expression and his work has been exhibited at galleries and museums in more than 27 countries and international art biennials such as the Venice Art Biennial in 1997 and again in 2005, in the Sao Paulo Art Biennial and the Havana Art Biennial in 1998.
Standard and VIP tickets, full festival passes as well as one-day passes for the MTN Bushfire International Festival of the Arts
, are available at www.bushfire.co.sz
. The website also includes information from Swazi. Travel on where to stay during the festival, from backpackers and campsites to chalets, B&Bs and hotels.