Monochromatic - Ajrakh DNA pattern sequences / by Antonio Jose Guzman

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

A decade ago Guzman joined the Genographic Project, an initiative of National Geographic that studies the DNA of thousands of people, helping them to find their ancestry. Guzman found his roots are African, Sephardi Jew and Native American. For a presentation at the Habana Biennial, the artist constructed with Amsterdam’s barrel organist Leon Perlee an organ book with his DNA. The barrel organ book was scanned, and the artist made banners and sculptures with extracts of his DNA sequence, which is exactly the same sequence that Guzman used for block prints in India.

The artist did extensive research on the Spakenburg Indian chintz kraplap, a women’s traditional cloth that formed an integral part of the traditional wear for women in the villages of Spakenburg and Bunschoten. The selected kraplappen, part of the collection of the Zuiderzee Museum, are made of indigo painted patterns and red madras.

The Monochromatic series will be shown coming fall in Nieuw Dakota together with the Dukkha Series. The installation at Nieuw Dakota shows us a fascinating universe in which cultural influences from all over the globe come together: the enigmatic anatomy drawings by Jean-Michel Basquiat meet geometrical textile prints from northern India, which merge with the ritual ‘cosmos drawings’ by Günther Uecker as well as the nail patterns in Congolese Nkisi figures.