I've a coming up exhibition in Lisbon at the Paula Cabral Art Gallery. There will be a painter from South Africa, Adrienne Silva and another painter, Jirina Nebesarova from the Czech Republic.
This was the opportunity I was waiting for to start a series about the road leading to Atar (or anywhere else in this desert country that only has four tarmac roads, the one to Atar, North East, the one to Rosso and to the frontier od Senegal that runs South, the "route de l'espoir" the longest with more than 1200 Km towards the East and the Malian border and the most recent the road that was finished in 2005 and that runs from the Northern frontier (Western Sahara) to the South and like all of them has its converging point in Nouakchott the capital - another tarmac road is being built that runs along the river Senegal)
Mobile antennes just like the roads are opening the country to the rest of the world and vice versa.
They both allow for more mobility and communication making people less vulnerable.
In a country as big as Mauritania with a very small population just over 3 million, news about events would arrive always with delay, days, weeks, months? Always making people feel detached of what was happening in the rest of the country. The same for news from relatives or friends living in another area.
For me the most amazing thing about the desert is its immensity and how it makes us conscious of our utter insignificance.
This series show the desert seen from the tarmac road that links Nouakchott to Atar, 409 Km.
The point of view never changes and the places are always deserted of people.
The sizes are small 20 X 20 cm and 30 X 20 cm worked as diptychs. (since I've been living here the size of my work has adjusted to my means of transporting them, Big if they can be rolled , small if not)
I want to have music playing on head phones during the exhibition and while looking for Mauritanian music in the net I came across this great blog about Sahel and desert musique where you can even download it and got in touch with Chris that hopefully will help me in choosing local musique that best will convey the greatness of this country that can seem so empty and repetitive to those who cross it in a hurry.
If you're in Lisbon please come and visit the exhibition it will be on until the 6th of August. I'm also participating at the second urbansketchers symposium in Lisbon the 21-23rd July registration is open until the 4th of July.