Monochromatic – Nieuw Dakota

Ajrakh DNA Pattern Sequences & Nail Strings

The most powerful projects are those who develop signs of our collective identity, connecting people and creating enormous amounts of diversity.  We are all members of numerous and overlapping communities, each of us has an identity composed of multiple layers and similar genetics, simultaneously we are all members of multiple lifeworlds.

Silk-screening, woodblock printing and laser cuts make repetition part of the ancestral meaning of the DNA sequences and images on this project. In Monochromatic I repeat images until repetition is magnified into multiple themes, representing the beauty of our diversity and the failure of our polarized societies.

In collaboration with Textiel Factorij, Iva Jankovic (Mids), Sukor and Sufiyan Khatri.

With the generous support of the Mondriaan Fund


The exhibition Dukkha presents a new assemblage of geometric thread and photo sculptures in which influences of Constructivism come together with the culture of the Congolese Diaspora in Panama. Dukkha is a sequel to a series that Guzman started during a residency at Art OMI in New York. 

The exhibition shows a fascinating universe in which cultural influences from all over the globe come together: the enigmatic anatomy drawings by Jean-Michel Basquiat meet the geometrical spatial drawings by Gego, which merge with the ritual ‘cosmos drawings’ by Günther Uecker as well as the nail patterns in Congolese Nkisi figures.

Translated excerpt from a text written by art historian Janna E. Adriaanse

In collaboration with: Mondriaan Fund (Proven Talent Grant), Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst

El Cielo de mi memoria

X Central American Biennial

Memory loss represents a disturbing phenomenon in our civilization; In moments when we forget the disasters and genocides of the past, our communities are even more polarized than before. The past, so direct, does not seem to make us learn from our mistakes. My work is defined as a work dedicated to migratory aesthetics, to genomics and to the phenomenon of cultural appropriation. My work presented at the last Biennial of Havana, ELOO, shows us the nomenclature of DNA sounds of my mixed families.

El Cielo de mi memoria, inspired by a Poem from Proust, uses the scores obtained thanks to the sound of the DNA generated by the oriental organ. These scores were used to be played with a marimba and a Piano. The interesting thing about the marimba is that it is an instrument that our indigenous ancestors appropriated culturally thanks to the migratory exchange with Africans who came to the Americas.

In collaboration with: Mondriaan Fund (NL), Articruz (Panama), Aleman Healy Foundation (Panama)

adn soundsistema

X Central American Biennial | The Museum of Contemporary Art, Panama

Music and dance are so deep within the spirit of Panamanians, that it is rare that there is someone in Panama who does not feel in the soul the rhythmic rhythm of the drum and the tune. Sound is one of the first introductions to our identity. Contemporary society is composed of analogous and virtual sounds that influence our psychic actions and our lives in transcultural societies.

ADN Soundsistema was created using the concept of human migration and designed taking as inspiration mobile sound systems like Los Guerreros de la Musica, popular in Panama in the eighties and nineties. The project uses the composition Transillumination Sequence # 1, made based on the information of my DNA, Indigenous, African and Spanish Sephardic.

In collaboration with: Senacyt, Universidad Tecnológica, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Panama

eloo el organo oriental

12th Havana Biennial – Between the Idea and Experience

In all the projects of Antonio Jose Guzman there is a relationship with the location at which he presents the project. He calls this “Sociological mapping”. In all his projects he is looking for cultural connection, for opportunities for communication, for an open confrontation with other cultures.

The ‘El Organo Oriental. Transillumination Sequence #1’ (ELOO) project, which he developed especially for the 12th Havana Biennial, is a logical extension of these principles. It highlights the significance of the organ in Cuban culture and the rich tradition of the organ in Amsterdam, the city in which Guzman lives and works.

Guzman places an original Cuban organ in a large space so that the sound is given free rein. The organ plays music that has been composed using the information elements from the artist’s DNA. The enlarged sheets made by a robot laser engraver with the unique organ score fill the space. This makes the DNA not only audible but also visible. Excerpt from a text written by Rob Perree for The 12th Havana Biennial.

In collaboration with: Mondriaan Fund, Wifredo Lam Centre of Contemporary Art, Habana, Cuba

Curators: Jose Manuel Noceda Fernandez, Jorge Fernandez Torres

Dukkha – Omi International Arts Center

For the works in Dukkha Transfigured landscapes, I use Nkondi, an animistic manifestation from west Africa. In rituals, the Nkondi nails protect homes and towns. In Dukkha I use Nkondi and threads essentially to investigate vernacular religions and Diasporic networks in contemporary society.

In collaboration with: Sasha Dees, Omi Arts Center, Time Equities Inc. and Francis Greenburger

Los Angeles Mapping Project

A collaborative site-specific installation following a residency at Windward School in Los Angeles, California. Produced with a grant from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation.

The project was one of the most intricate undertakings in the history of the program, developed with contributions from more than a hundred participating students. The project maps the critical topographies of Los Angeles from the 70′s to now, by focusing on the cultural politics of space, time, and segregated neighborhoods. The result of Los Angeles Mapping Project was a large installation composed of photos, drawings, light boxes, objects and sculptures that illustrates how racial segregation still plays a major role in everyday American life.

Looking at Los Angeles Mapping Project it is very apparent that the city is a four race area, it’s not just about black – white and Latino – white relationships, but also about all the complex relationships among Latinos, blacks and Asians as well as class relationships within these communities.

Piertopolis – Presence

In Piertopolis I use my Panamanian – Indigenous, African and Sephardic Jewish background to create a multidisciplinary installation.  The project and installations has been inspired by The New Babylon project of COBRA artist Constant, Piertopolis features an architectural design for an installation of a life-size landscape made out of piers and walking bridges.

The Piertopolis constitute a record of my journeys to spaces that are related to my DNA ancestry and my own existence. The series incorporate influences of the documentary the Powers of Ten and by the book Cosmic View (1957) from the Dutch writer Kees Boeke, which presents a seminal view of the universe, from the galactic to the microscopic scale. The images takes us on an adventure in magnitudes, we see piers, mountains and cities from Google earth perspective, images taken in different piers around the globe, microscopic images of water and sand taken with a microscope.

I intend the photo series and installations of Piertopolis as a meeting place, a transit point, a public performance center, a refuge. Piertopolis is a welcome space to memories, real or imagined and a mapping loop into new worlds and images.

In collaboration with: Gemak, La Cité internationale des Arts, Fonds Kwadraat, Rare Birds

Atlantic Federation State (the state of L3)

Migration, or the condition of being a subject beyond borders, has always represented one of the most productive resources of aesthetic practices, contributing to the changing of settled cultures.

My Pan African symbiotic research focuses on the issue of Pan Africanism, Post colonialism, Afro Futurism, space and migration from very different perspectives, in order to explore what Mieke Bal defined as “migratory aesthetics”. The State of L3 is a project that connects three continents, in search of the African identity and the relationship between distance relatives in those continents. The State of L3 as Collective is aware that our decolonization is a process of change, destruction and an attempt to regain and lose power.

While countries still had to learn how to put independence into practice, colonial powers had to accept the loss of power over foreign countries. However, both sides have to deal with their past as suppressor and suppressed. This complicated relationship mainly developed from the Eurocentric perspective from which the former colonial powers saw themselves made the process of decolonization rather tense and emotional.

In collaboration with: Mondriaan Fund, Prince Claus Fonds, MHKA Antwerp, Galleri Image

studies and earthworks

This series of monumental projects challenge the traditional notion of space and time by transforming the aesthetics and perception of natural and artificial spaces. Our relation with time is different depending on the society, culture, and the communities we live in, we perceive time differently that our ancestors.

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