‘Two Together’ is an exhibition that touches on complementary artworks that pose vantage points in conjunction with each other. The works specifically comprise of topics pertaining to culture, representation and social issues. Joel Adrianomearisoa is an artist from Madagascar and uses elements from traditional culture in his work. Adrianomearisoa has created a sense of collective memory in his work featured in the exhibition. He further elaborates an intangible heritage and form of life through the appeal of sensory factors, elaborating the significance of his work in relation to his culture. Nostalgia is something everyone experiences at some point in their life, especially when encountering loss and can relate to memory in accordance with absent objects that were a part of us.
When observing Joel Adrianomearisoa’s work, I was quickly drawn to the texture of his work. The works include material that has been cut up and ripped into smaller segments that combined, create a fluffy carpet look from afar. The material would lead the viewer to wonder about why the material was used and placed at eye level instead of on the floor due to its nature and tactile intrigue. On reading about the work it is explained these individual canvas’s are virtual representations of people’s souls with the history of people attached to the fabrics used. Each colour coordination leaves room for the audience to freely interpret who these canvas’s symbolise and what this person was like, purely based off colour and form. The physicality of these works plays alongside the idea of identity and holds high energy and soulful value with every glance. The title of each work, a name, allows the audience to think beyond its physical value and imagine the lives attached to each piece. Each name represents an iconic woman from the twentieth century Madagascan pop culture, further placing these pieces as abstract memorials.
While the form and texture of the artworks are enticing, it is the historical value that holds the most power with each of these works. The material used is traditional Malagasian fabric, known as Lamba. The fabric is often worn as a shawl, wrapped around the body and holds individual value due to the unique elements the Lamba consists of for each person. It is however through funeral processions that the Lamba is then wrapped around the deceased prior to burial. It is through the absence of figurative forms that each canvas can truly capture the allusion of the lives of the famous women it represented and the way they live on after their deaths that adds a sense of emotional value. The artist captures the emotional process attached with each Lamba that holds the energy of one’s life, sewn onto a canvas and kept forever on display without context but the ability to contextualise through imagination and assumption. The artwork is closely linked with the artists heritage and truly emphasises the importance of one’s life using a single canvas and a piece of fabric, holding symbolic value beyond comprehension.
The ‘Two Together’ exhibition is one that is emotionally charged, thought provoking and intriguing when I experienced it. I think that Adrianomearisoa’s work fits perfectly in an imperfect exhibition that allows the audience to embark on their own emotional journey through the gallery to explore their own feelings and understandings thereof. It is one worth attending if you have an hour spare to take it all in and subjectively embrace the exhibition and how it also affects your sentiments on the gallery at large.