Art Dubai Residents: Artist Longinos Nagila explores the power of mass consumerism

Longinos Nagila works on a new piece in 2020.  A.R.M. Holding is the home of Residents and the program is supported by Tashkeel. (Photo courtesy: Lena Kassicieh)
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Updated 29 March 2020

Art Dubai Residents: Artist Longinos Nagila explores the power of mass consumerism

  • Despite the lack of a physical show, the works of Longinos Nagila, an experimental multimedia artist based in Nairobi, Kenya, were completed and engage technology and found objects to investigate the human condition and the implications of modernity

DUBAI: With Johannesburg-based curator Kabelo Malatsie at the helm of the third edition of Art Dubai Residents, six African artists were due to exhibit under a theme of “Internal logic” prior to the shuttering of numerous public events across the UAE due to COVID-10. 

Despite the lack of a physical show, the works of Longinos Nagila, an experimental multimedia artist based in Nairobi, Kenya, were completed and engage technology and found objects to investigate the human condition and the implications of modernity.

“Having the opportunity to make work out of my normal geographical space means that I have freedom to try new things,” Nagila told Arab News of his time working in Dubai. “It exposes you to a different kind of audience, who come with different knowledge.” Focused on using art as a tool of communication, he explained that the key to an artwork is not the piece itself, rather, the dialogue and relationship between artist, work and audience. “I can reach out more when I bring objects together,” said Nagila. “Objects have their own limitations, leading me to use mediums like film, video installation or photography, but the presentation gives them new life.” 




Longinos Nagila  explores consumerism. (Photo courtesy: Lena Kassicieh)

Nagila’s playful approach to producing his contemplative “immersions of representational aspects of objects” begs the viewer to be mindfully explorative. “I work with subjects that affect human beings in contemporary times,” he remarked. “I’ve worked with fashion, migration, identity, and for a time I put my focus on art itself, exploring what is or is not art. But for this residency, I looked toward capitalism, products that have been branded as symbols of consumerism and its trappings on society at large.” An inescapable reality, consumerism exists hand-in-hand with life today and “as the world becomes larger, turning into a global village, consumerism and capitalism uses that as an advantage,” asserted Nagila, lamenting that upon picking up a bird’s nest, he found part of it had been woven with a Cadbury chocolate wrapper. “It’s becoming part of the ecosystem, not just through what we consume, but even the remnants, the footprints of products and packaging.”

Using non-traditional materials, the works tackle urgent issues with unavoidable first-hand confrontation. “It doesn’t mean I don’t have respect for traditional materials, but I feel other materials work better because when I look at a painting, it’s trying to create an illusion of space,” indicates Nagila. “Objects that people have used and have had meaning in their lives are more powerful and communicative. So why should I fake it when I have the real thing?”

Longinos Nagila is represented by Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi, Kenya.


Emirati photographer finds that lockdowns have a silver lining

The photographer enjoys capturing industrial facilities and ghostly landscapes. (Tashkeel)
Updated 29 May 2020

Emirati photographer finds that lockdowns have a silver lining

DUBAI: The COVID-19 lockdowns may have cancelled festivals and closed down museums around the world, but some artists have continued to thrive.  

Emirati photographer Jalal Bin Thaneya told Arab News that in his field the pandemic has only slowed down artistic photography.

“Some documentary and news photographers are still able to work, especially those employed by organizations and governments fighting the virus,” Thaneya said. “Documenting and getting images of what is happening on the ground is extremely important.”

“Photography records moments,” the artist said. “In World War II, (the American photographer) Margaret Bourke-White was actively taking pictures and she has been a big influence on me.”

This, he believes, is an example of how photography and art have flourished during difficult times.

Despite the delays the lockdown has imposed on Thaneya’s projects, he says he now has got more time to work on his unpublished pictures. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rims 02, 120x160 cm, 2018 / #industry #beyondthefence

A post shared by Jalal Bin Thaneya (@binthaneya) on

“Priorities have shifted overnight. I have many images I made that I never showed which I’m currently compiling. The lockdown has given me time to organize myself and prepare for future projects,” he said. 

The self-taught artist, who enjoys capturing industrial facilities and ghostly landscapes, said: “What I do is very niche and not widely appreciated in the region.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Valves / #industry #industrial_landscapes

A post shared by Jalal Bin Thaneya (@binthaneya) on

He discovered his passion by “accident” in 2013. “I saw old architecture being demolished at the Jabal Ali port and it is from that point that I started taking pictures of abandoned spaces before focusing on industrial landscapes and artefacts from 2016 to date.”

Thaneya believes that many people look down on his job. “However, if I listened to what people said, I would’ve stopped many years ago,” he added. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Raw material feeder and cement silos. // #Industry #Industrial_Dubai

A post shared by Jalal Bin Thaneya (@binthaneya) on

“You’ve got to follow your intuition and do things that give you purpose. Listening and following the crowd will only dilute your character and individual essence,” he advised other photographers who wish to pursue this career. 

“We cannot allow others to do the thinking for us, we need to be clear and focused on what we would like to achieve,” Thaneya said.