DUŠICA DRAŽIĆ & DEQA ABSHIR – The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

handmade coat
23 color photographs, various dimensions
projection of photographs
Video, 53′ 47”
Video, 59′ 34”

The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a coat made out of a combination of a traditionally decorated African fabric and a white fabric with screen printed motifs of different items (audio cassettes, calendars, notes) which Somali refugees had brought with them to Kenya. The phases of its creation unfold in a series of photos and two videos showing the process which explores intimate histories and narratives, and personal archives and memorised experiences on various subjects, whose positions reopen the question of migration and, depending on the context, connote the issue of refugees or the question of neo-colonial relations. Narration follows the reviewing of personal archives, boxes with hundreds of such items/relics which have been carefully preserved for decades, the making of the coat and its transformation into an object that serves as an excuse to talk to and interact with the refugees who took part in the project and other passersby. In doing so, the coat is not treated as an aestheticised artefact, so feel free to take a walk in it through the exhibition!

Dušica Dražić
(1979, RS) is an artsist, born in Belgrade (Yugoslavia). Dražić also initiated and curated collaborative projects and exhibitions. The issues that Dražić explores within her art practice deal with the ambivalent interrelationship of the citizen and the city, their mutual support and protectiveness, but also their isolation and destruction. Dražić searches for spaces of irregularity, difference, flexibility, intuition and focuses on abandoned, forgotten places in the urban structure of modern cities. Dražić explores their transformation and rethinks them at the level of cultural continuity, symbolic irregularities and individual actions. She exhibited in various solo exhibitions and her work is included in shows at What happened with the Museum of Contemporary Art?, MoCAB, Belgrade, Serbia (2012), Rearview Mirror, The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (2011), The Power to Host, ISCP, New York, USA (2011), Conversations in Silence, Goethe Institute Nairobi, Kenya (2011), Qui Vive? II Moscow International Biennale of Young Artist, Moscow, Russia (2010) and many others.

Kenyan-born Deqa Abshir has training in both art and women’s studies. An emerging artist in Kenya, her artwork expresses the complexities of identity.
“There are various influences that make up who I am, but my identity as a Somali Kenyan is fundamental to my life considering that I identify equally with my “Somalli-ness” and my “Kenyan-ness”. Additionally having spent 6 years in New York for my art education and having my family scattered around the world have all led me to question: What is identity? How rooted is it in citizenship or where we live? Through my paintings, I try to get these thoughts in order. I feel like this discourse of identity affects so many in my generation of young Africans who everyday are confronted with issues of globalization, while having to engage with national, tribal and cultural pressures. Contrary to what is expected, I believe this has made my generation stronger, more diverse and more accepting. This acceptance and growth is something I strive to express in my work.

Furthermore, my work attempts to highlight some of the paradoxes of modern culture: the way in which our traditional or semi-traditional upbringings and the culture that surrounds our everyday lives contradicts with the modern fixture tattooed across Africa. My artwork endeavors to highlight the juxtapositions between the realistic and the poetic, the traditional and the modern, the global south and the global north.

In using my art to comment on the world in which I live, I find myself maneuvering and winding my way through this world and using art as a lens to express my experience in the hope that this strikes a chord with the viewers of my work.”