Rafael Gómezbarros (born in 1972 in Santa Marta, Colombia) is being introduced to a Swedish audience for the first time. On the façades of the Art Gallery and Wanås Castle, Casa Tomada (House Taken), a work that is comprised of 300 half-meter-long sculptures of ants is installed. For the artist, ants are a symbol of the industrious and hard-working migrant, transplantation across the world, and social organization. The ant’s body is formed by skulls and reminds us how migration is intertwined with danger and death, and of the brutal reality in the artist’s homeland. As the result of prolonged wars and conflicts, Colombia’s borders hold millions of internal refugees today.
Since 2008, Gómezbarros has installed his hundreds of ants on public buildings in Colombia, but he shows when they are exhibited in other places around the world that they carry a story that reaches beyond Colombia’s borders and impacts us all. The global migrant weaves together one place with another, the local with the global—Bromölla with Bogotá. Wars, urbanization, and economic inequality—the reasons behind people’s movements in the world bear many similarities. Casa Tomada takes place in a highly relevant global context. The whole world is encapsulated in Gómezbarros’ ants. In the Art Gallery, visitors will find an exhibition with photographs documenting Casa Tomada on various buildings around the world and also a workshop that will be open during the exhibition.
Gómezbarros works in Bogotá and has done a number of notable exhibitions internationally, among them large installations at the Saatchi Gallery in London; Bienal del Fin del Mundo in Mar del Plata/Valparaiso, Argentina; the Offenes Kulturhaus center for contemporary art in Linz, Austria; the 11th Bienal de la Habana in Havana, Cuba; and the first Trienal Internacional del Caribe, Museo de Arte Moderno in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. He has also had a number of exhibitions with other works at museums and galleries in Colombia, such as Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino in Santa Marta, Museo de la Aduana in Barranquilla, Museo Bolivariano Arte Contemporáneo in Santa Marta, and Museo de Arte del Tolima in Tolima. In the autumn of 2014, contemporary culture program SVT Kobra featured Gómezbarros in an episode that garnered a great deal of attention.
Opening: Sunday, May 15, 2016. Exhibition period: May 15 – November 6, 2016.