Alinka Echeverria

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'Becoming South Sudan'

Sat 29 Oct 2016 - Sat 10 Dec 2016

Prior to South Sudan's independence from the Republic of Sudan in 2011, forty years of internal conflicts and two protracted civil wars had permeated the history of the country. Established in 1956 at the end of the Anglo-Egyptian colonial rule, the Republic of Sudan had its borders drawn by its very European predecessors with little concern to the cultural and ethnic reality of the region. South Sudan's independence allowed the borders to be reconfigured to extent. Regardless, the world's newest nation remains in shambles, en masse. Its short history has demonstrated that internal solidarity along the ethnic lines has long lost its echo among the rivalries within the country's ruling party, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Artist Alinka Echeverría's Becoming South Sudan arrests the momentum of the solemnity of the independence day preparations in the country's capital Juba in June 2011. Arranged in three chapters, the series propound the idea of becoming as a mode of wearing; military and religious uniforms constitute the dynamic undercurrent between the subjects. While the costumes might propose a sense of national togetherness, what Echeverría delivers is actually strikingly intimate set of portraits that transcend the conventional patriotism of national consciousness; consciousness that in the case of South Sudan could not have been in any way fully realized concept back in 2011. The question remains whether it is that today.

Becoming also implies to any change concerning attainment of potentialities in classical Western philosophy. The word suggests a kind of movement from one level of potentiality to a level of higher actuality. Becoming is a process, an active flux that is never fixed in time. The dignity of Echeverría's portraits, the tranquil, yet resolute looks of their subjects, seem to escape the historical moment in which they were captured. One cannot help but reframe Becoming South Sudan against the formative years of the independence. Echeverría points us to the taut anticipation of South Sudan's future; none of her subjects are expressing joy. The very strength of Echeverría's Becoming South Sudan is that its embryonic aptitude is constantly growing in potential. The symbolic order of her images is very much in a parallel transit in relation to the evolution of South Sudan.

Alinka Echeverría (b. 1981) is a British-Mexican artist working in the field of expanded photography. Her work engages the cross sections of documentary photography, visual anthropology and conceptual art. She studied Social Anthropology and Development at the University of Edinburgh before completing a degree in photography at the International Center for Photography in New York in 2008. Echeverría was the BMW Photographer-in-Residence at the Nicéphore Niépche Museum in 2015, was named ‘International Photographer of the Year’ by the Lucie Awards in 2012,  and won the HBSC Prize for Photography in 2011. Her work is part of the public and institutional collections of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Musée Nicéphore Niépce, BMW Art & Culture Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa.

Installation

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Works

Becoming South Sudan Chapter I: Portraits / Anthem, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter I: Portraits Chief, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter I: Portraits Four, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter I: Portraits Procession, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter I: Portraits Rebel, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter I: Portraits Scar, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter I: Portraits Sovereign, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter II: Tableaus Altar, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter II: Tableaus Boys, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter II: Tableaus Buluk, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter II: Tableaus Nile, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter II: Tableaus Rajaf, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter II: Tableaus South, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter II: Tableaus Sunday, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter II: Tableaus Window, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Jackson Onek Paul, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Jackson Lodung, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Peter Giatkuoth Jacob, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Mohamed Arabi Abdulla, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Garang Dumo, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Stephen Gurec Aguto, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Elnur Afudi Pita, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Sabreen Samuel, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Aluel Nhial, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Atiliu Manyuan, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Akon Achiek Chol Alitha, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Laura Paul Pidi, 2011Becoming South Sudan Chapter III: Graduation Day Officer Eliza Nyathou, 2011
Installation 01
Title: Installation 01