The artist examines the representations of exotic cliches, and propaganda techniques used to demonize the eternal foreign Other. In doing so he questions who is really “primitive” and critiques the Western Historical narrative and the contemporary nostalgia for Empire. All of this is combined with absurdist humor and often grotesque violence, tracing parallels between the conquests of 19th century empires and the military occupations of our days.
Yohannes IV was emperor of Ethiopia from 1871 to 1889. His life comes to an end during the battle of Gallabat between the forces of Sudan and the Ethiopian Empire when he was shot by a sniper, dying a few hours later. Although the Ethiopian army had almost annihilated the enemies, the news of the death of their leader demoralized them and allowed the hostile forces to fight back, beating the Ethiopian lines and capturing the Emperor's body, later transported to the Sudanese capital, where his head was exposed, impaled on a halberd. The death of Yohannes IV was a prelude to the creation of the Italian colony of Eritrea.
ANDREW GILBERT | JARMILA MITRÍKOVÁ & DÁVID DEMJANOVIČ | UMAR RASHID (FROHAWK TWO FEATHERS), The Fate of Empires, Studio d’Arte Raffaelli + Cellar Contemporary, Trento, 2019
ANDREW GILBERT | JARMILA MITRÍKOVÁ & DÁVID DEMJANOVIČ | UMAR RASHID (FROHAWK TWO FEATHERS), The Fate of Empires, Studio d’Arte Raffaelli + Cellar Contemporary, Trento 2019, p. 14
by Davide Raffaelli