Rahmaan Statik’s “Coltan” on Exhibition at Elephant Room, Inc. in the South Loop of Chicago
“Coltan” is an exhibition of new work by Chicago-based artist, Rahmaan Statik that is on exhibition now through June 28th at Elephant Room, Inc. located at 704 S Wabash Ave. in the South Loop Neighborhood of Chicago. The closing reception will be on Friday, June 28th from 7pm to 10pm.
“Coltan” analyzes and explores global free trade, technology, consumerism and the tragic beauty of the modern African American cultural identity in relation to the mining of the black gold, Coltan. Mined in the Eastern Congo, Coltan is a vital component in cell phone electronic circuits and therefore is an essential yet overlooked part of our everday lives. Through the illustration of contemporary African women, Statik not only confronts society’s idealistic interpretations of African culture, but also gives the viewer a glimpse into the Coltan trade. By addressing the power of seduction in society, Statik is able to bring attention to the brutality of the Coltan trade through the universal language of art.
At first glance, it may be a stretch to connect the “Coltan” series to the brutality of the Coltan trade in the Eastern Congo. In this series, Statik takes on the theme of the empowerment of contemporary African women by placing his subjects within an alternative universe where they carry the weight of an industrial and consumerist society. Statik sees society’s objectification of women as a misinterpretation of the power of sensuality. Thus, he’s painted these women of confidence, poise and sensuality all in positions of power among consumerist society. Statik’s choice to title this series “Coltan” and openly share his drive to create this series with the viewer, allows us to look beyond the vibrant paintings and consider his motivation.
Statik is not a stranger to creating work that reveals his passion for and knowledge on a certain subject. “I live a lifestyle of observation and creation. I believe that being well informed on the subject of your work and having an organized strategy produces a more intriguing work of art.” -Statik. Through this new series, Statik is able to parallel the objectified yet powerful woman with the abuse of the Coltan trade by referencing our obsession with being consumers of products of which we remain unconcerned of their origins. In this case, the tragedy falls onto the people of the Congo in Africa.