Swiss visual artist Andy Storchenegger has returned to Livingston, Zambia to present his collaborative project “Nobody is Okay” in the two-artist exhibition Shifting The Gaze at the National Art Gallery Zambia, in Livingstone.
Andy developed the project during an artist residency in 2021 at the Livingston office for Contemporary Art, which invited artists with research-based art practices or projects interested in investigating histories, politics, social issues and culture in Livingstone and its surrounding region while negotiating their positionality and identity politics. The artists engaged with local communities, scholars, artists, traditional African medicine practitioners and cultural custodians in informing their concepts. Alongside Andy, Zambian artist Bwanga ‘Benny Blow’ Kapumpa will present his ongoing investigation of local healing and spirituality practices in Shifting The Gaze. The exhibition is curated by Kabila Kyowa Stépahane from DRC, who was one of the collaborators for the ongoing Quilombo project.
For the project “Nobody is Okay”, Andy collaborated with Zambian poet Marita Banda, local dancers Henry and Joe Sage and Sky Wave, as well as electronic producer/DJ SHE Spells Doom. In a synchronised dialogue across three video projections, the work interrogates notions of identity, affinities and antipathies through the concept of masquerade from an angle that exposes the idea that the uncomfortable is rife, expected and must be acknowledged.
The text for the project reads:
The art of masquerade is a worldwide phenomenon; an age old one. Throughout human history, in every society, across demographics of race, gender, age, ethnicity, marital and economic status and others, humanity has had a need to camouflage. Psychologists attribute this behaviour or attitude to what they call, ‘The Myth of Inadequacy.’
In a world where home has been heralded as a place where we can be free to be ourselves, we are faced with ghosts that haunt us with the notion that we actually do not have a place where we truly belong. Humans are plagued with the constant state of longing. In moments of honest contemplation in solitude, the restlessness shows up. We often crave the company of others or chasing after some adventure or other in an effort to numb or escape that feeling. We invent distractions all the time. We often innovate fantastic ideas of boundaries at every opportunity simply to avoid the awkwardness of not belonging.
The project, as multidisciplinary interactive art experience, is a collaboration between Andy Storchenegger, a Swiss visual artist and Zambian poet, Marita Banda. Nobody is Okay navigates the idea of not belonging through three chapters namely; Observer, Perception and Deviant.
Watch a short video of Andy discussing the project during his residency.