Empathy in artform
A new exhibition by international artist Patrick Altes explores migration and our sense of collective identity to urge tolerance and respect
By Mark Cantrell
WE live in a time of angst, division and separatism, of which Brexit is just one sullen syndrome of a wider ailment, but artist Patrick Altes is urging us all to find reason for greater tolerance and respect.
In a forthcoming exhibition, simply called Tolerance, at Gerald Moore Gallery in London, Altes is using his art to confront negative cultural stereotypes by exploring themes of migration and our sense of collective identity.
Altes himself has seen the world through the prism of many countries. He was born in colonial-era Algeria and has since lived in many places, including South Africa under apartheid, before settling in Britain in 2006.
The international artist’s work is deeply informed by his own personal history, and the experiences of a diasporic life; these, he says, have both defined his identity and fuelled his artistic exploration.
For this latest exhibition, which formally opens in November 2019, Altes has created several installation pieces, together with new digital collages, posters and paintings. Many of these works involve a layering process that has become a hallmark of his work.
“From the onset, Patrick Altes strikes you with his empathy, his intelligence, his creativity as well as his artistic proficiency,” said Karim Sergoua, curator of the third Mediterranean Biennale of Contemporary Art of Oran. “His engagement with memory takes its roots in his early life in North Africa and has influenced a complex visual language that powerfully serves its purpose. His current creations elicit strong powerful sweeping emotions in the viewer.”
A leading light in the emerging Franco-Algerian art movement, Altes’s first-hand experience of unjust, brutal and discriminatory societies has fuelled a sense for the politically, socially and humanly acceptable, which has become a thematic concern visible in all his creative work.
With perilous journeys depositing migrants on European – and now, British – shores, the artist is turning his attention to the harrowing circumstances that increasingly accompany migration and resettlement.
The exhibition, curated by Middle Eastern art specialist Janet Rady and supported by the Arts Council, will encompass outreach and public engagement activities.
These activities will encourage pupils, students and participating members of the public to reflect on our values and ideas – bringing concepts such as the rule of law, diversity, democracy and individual liberty into the conversation.
Gerald Moore Gallery
Mottingham Lane, London, SE9 4RW
Wednesday 19 November 2019 – Saturday 25 January 2020
Saturday 10am-4pm or by appointment
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