Kassel, Germany is best-known for the documenta. Every five years all eyes of the contemporary art world turn to the Hessian town in anticipation of ground-breaking artwork exhibited in the form of installation, film, performance, and so on. What is passed over when visitors take in the imported works of artists from Lebanon, Canada, or South Africa, is the fantastic work of local artists creating right here in Kassel. It is to be expected that a town putting on a production such as documenta would lend and give inspiration to a thriving artistic community. I would like to dedicate this section, Local Look, to an exploration of those artists who call Kassel home.
Zaki Al-Maboren is originally from the Sudan and has been living and working in Germany since 1988. Al-Maboren’s work is political, relevant, and aesthetically marvelous. Working with bright colors, symbolic architecture, and proverbial icons, the images are ripe with echoes of Arab art history. Al-Maboren works with sensitivity in understanding his subjects translating current political topics through evocative painterly analysis. Transcending cultural divides, Al-Maboren’s paintings create a bridge from his homeland to the Western world and are universal in their aesthetic beauty.
The paintings are generally created as oil on wood panel and involve a process of scratching and engraving giving the effect of dynamic texture. While painting has been Al-Maboren’s most-used medium, the artist is not limited here and is most recently working with illustration, photography, and even architecture to deliver his message.
Al-Maboren has exhibited throughout Germany and the Middle East, often pairing publications with his shows.