The Heritage Studio

Meschac Gaba’s iconic wigs

Tresses, South African Buildings, 2006 (from left: Voortrekker Monument,Sentech Tower,Disa Park)Meschac-Gaba Afrikaanse kunstenaarThe Story of Meschab Gaba’s Wigs metlife-centre

Settings: Cotonou, nowadays

Main Character: Benin born artist Meshab Gaba, lives and works between the Netherlands and Cotonou, is primarily known for having founded the Museum of African Contemporary Art, inaugurated in 1997,pioneering the debate about contemporary art from Africa.

Plot: “Tresses” are sculptures woven from artificial hair in the shape of iconic objects or people. The series premiered in 2005 at Harlem Museum  where Gaba presented replicas of buildings from Cotonou and New York City. A new series of Tresses came in 2007 , with an exhibition in Cape Town at Stevenson Gallery where the sculptures represented iconic South African buildings. In 2008 came a new series, The Street, where the wigs, this time, were in the shape of cars. Both skyscrapers, which inspired Gaba’s first series of Tresses, and cars are potent symbols of progress in the modern era, embodying technological achievement and prosperity. In the current global economic and environmental crisis, however,these signs are destabilised . In 2010/11 the MAVA project (Musée de l’Art de la Vie Active)  performed a parade of historical wigs, inspired by key characters in the history of human progress.

Unisa building (Pretoria),Good Hope Centre (Cape Town)

Rivington Place, London, Commissioned work, 2009meshac_gaba_rivington_place    Tresses, Street Series, 2008 (From left: Mercedes ,Tank, School Bus)


MAVA Project 2010/2011 (From left: Henri Dunant-Red Cross, Mahatma Gandhi, Jeanne D’arc)

Karl Marx and Pythagora

to know more about Gaba, visit The Museum of Contemporary African Art

credits: Stevenson Gallery

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