Contemporary Art from national and international artists. Emerged and consolidated artists.
Also on line gallery in www.olivartartgallery.com
Director: Fina Olivart
Foundation: Juliol 2012
Address: Banys Vells, 6 tri
Location: 08003 Barcelona
Telephone: 696226592 -933285134
Timetable: Wednesday to Friday, 13.30h.-20h.; Saturday 12h. - 20h. Out of this schedule call to appoinment
Moustapha Baïdi Oumarou
Moustapha is Cameroonian, yes, but a native of Maroua, in the far north of his country. He is connected to the world of the savannah, to the great voids of the desert areas, to the large flat areas of violent and contrasting colors... Cameroon is also Central Africa, the forest, permanent budding, abundant water, heat, humidity. Having been born and spending his childhood, as a family, at the confluence of these two worlds, in this country crossed by so many geographical and climatic variations is already, in itself, a happy element of openness to the world and its multiple nuances and representations. Must we see in this concurrence of factors, in addition to some of those that inevitably escape us, the precocity of this young artist who at barely twenty-three years old, has already proven himself in his country and even internationally, as evidenced by the choice of presenting him for this exhibition. Very early on, in fact, Oumarou opened his eyes to the world and not only looking at it and seeing it, he chose to observe it and sought to understand it. While very young, he was convinced of his vocation as an artist and suffered from no major opposition from his family, which is rare enough to be emphasized. He set his sights on painting and exhibited his first self-taught work in his hometown. In 2013 - at just barely 17 years old - he won 3rd prize for visual arts at the Yawalta Maroua Festival. Coming to crown his first efforts, this distinction would be decisive for him. His secondary studies completed, Oumarou worked in a screen printing workshop, an experience which has strongly marked in his artistic production so far. Multiplying contacts and exchanges, in 2014 he joined the fine arts club of the University of Maroua, andcompleted, in 2018, the short cycle of the Artistic Training Institute of Mbalmayo and participated in a short residency at the In and Off Art Center of the visual artist Hako HANSON, also from Cameroon. Oumarou’s career took a new turn with exhibitions both in Cameroon and elsewhere in the world. In 2018, after leaving school, his works were presented in Mbalmayo and then in Yaoundé, "L’art spirituel de Yaoundé", the capital of Cameroon. In2019, his artistic career reached another dimension with his participation in "Africa now", at Galerie Claire CORCIA, in Paris; in DOUAL’ART, a fair of international reputation; while at the same timewe saw his works at the National Museum of Yaoundé, or at Bolo art and culture space, in Douala. His presence has also beennoted at Also Known as Africa (AKAA), the contemporary African art fair which is becoming a must see in Paris. Represented by Claire CORCIA's well-established gallery in Paris, Oumarouhas also joined the very recently established AFIKARIS Gallery launched by Florian AZZOPARDI. Moustapha Baidi Oumarou asserts his "humanism" which gives its title to this exhibition in OOA Gallery. The artist scrutinizes the human being, man and woman, with a solicitous eye, with falsely simple expressionistic techniques, in order to convey all aspects, the good ones and the others. He starts with allusion, clearly taking his place in the line of these “ornamentalist” artists who work very structured, neat and detailed canvases, with many small patterns, which one would be tempted to qualify as decorative at first sight, if one did not take the trouble to appreciate their depth and sometimes the violence of evocation. Two names come to mind, the Senegalese Omar BA and the Kenyan Evans MBUGUA. Here we find the reminiscences of early training in screen printing and borrowing from the aesthetic codes of this technique. Moustapha represents faceless figures, hanging in the middle of nowhere, in gardens, in the middle of plants which are the only decoration. Only the postures and attitudes, sometimes the clothing, if not the rare accessories, allow us to have an idea of their purpose and intentions. Moving humanity at the start of this chaotic century, a humanity caught between murderous identities and the steamroller of globalization. It is very difficult to give a nationality, or even simply an origin to his characters, they are content to illustrate the human condition without regard for the details which create useless segregation. But under the apparent lightness of the treatment with flat areas of bright and acidulous colors and cuts of dark foliage, the artist wants to convey his message, to be the megaphone of the voiceless, make us realize the presence of the absent, all these characters that haunt our avenues and our memories and that we no longer see, that we no longer want to see. This is by no means a miserable approach, just a hint, a call, a blink of an eye more serious than it seems. Young, dynamic, optimistic, uninhibited, Moustapha’s paintings resembletheir author; they are full of qualities and are deserving of our connection.
Olivia Mae Pendergast
Olivia is a painter; she claims it, even if she happens to be presenting photographs. It was in 2008 that this American-born artist discovered Africa, Malawi in particular. There she tirelessly painted the people she saw around her. Other trips would follow, Haiti, Bangladesh, but in 2016, her decision was made, she left to settle in Africa, Kenya specifically, where she is still established. Even while she has recently painted landscapes reminiscent of stained glass or batiks, Olivia Pendergast’s favorite theme is the portrait, the figurative in the most literal sense. Her large paintings are not anecdotal. Painting the world around her in Kenya does not in any way imply the search for effects that could be described as sensational or touristy. Even her young Masai shepherd wears a cap like you and me! No, she captures "ordinary" people in their "ordinary" activities in their everyday life and makes them enter our visual field with ease, almost without doing it intentionally. She saw a taxi driver, a man seated on a chair, a pregnant woman, a mother with a child; she painted them, as she saw them, without pursuing seduction, neither from the model or the observer. The characters are painted from the front or in profile, without any particular pose, captured "as they are”. The body always occupies much more space in proportion to the head; the effects of volume reside much more in the traces left by the brushes than in a deliberate search for structure; almost everything seems to be a draft, a quick sketch taken "on the fly”. However, if you take the trouble to observe the canvas, nothing is left to chance. First, the backgrounds are very worked, but at the same time very discreet, all in lightness, embellished with decorative patterns (arabesques and interlacing) generally completely out of context. They assume their role,but nevertheless they carry their own strength and evocative power.The faces seem quite expressionless, they do not tell a story. The artist breaks down light and color into a sort of very balanced checkerboard dominated by shades of red which nevertheless show black people; the effect is very striking! The artist says it herself, she paints all those people around her exactly as she sees and perceives them. So this apparent simplicity conceals great creativity and the search for undetectable effects, but the results are obvious, these paintings are beautiful and they move us. Their share of mystery also tickles our imagination; who is this woman?; who is this boy and even this tuk-tuk driver posing proudly in front of his vehicle? Each one carries their share of shadow, in a work which does not precisely include any. The power of the artist is to make us think and imagine even when nothing in her paintings apparently arouses our reflection, our curiosity, our questioning. It is a triangular back and forth game between the painter, the canvas and the spectator who is forced to invest in order to fully play their role, when they least expect it. All the poetry of her work emerges in this way, with great subtlety. And you feel its charm and sweetness at the same time as itsforce, not an aggressive, invasive, obvious force, but one of those forces which start from the bottom of the soul and can overturn worlds. Olivia Pendergast is a very experienced artist! She completed her BFA at Columbus College’s five year Art and Design program and began exhibiting her work in 1999. She first worked as a conceptual designer in the film industry in Los Angeles for five years. And then, the call of artistic creativity was at its strongest; she left California and retired to the mountains of Utah to paint full time, away from the world and its artificial temptations. In 2007, she moved to Seattle to invest more in her artistic activity before discovering Africa the following year and finally deciding not to leave. Traveling with her daughter, this self-claimed world citizen, calls herself both an artist and a full-time mother! A renowned artist with multiple distinctions since 1999, Olivia Pendergast has also exhibited on three continents (America, Asia, Africa), in thirty exhibitions, with equal success and her works are in several important collections, including that of the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta. Let us enter her universe, which claims to be the only dimension of man, take hold of her share of humanism which she generously offers us and take away this piece of soft light that she spreads through our souls.