"El Hadj Libasse Ka (23) – nom de plume Libasse KA – spent the first half of his life in Senegal, the second half in Belgium. Along with his talent, energy, this split has now given him his first solo show in Wetsi Art Gallery, the place to be for Afrodescendant art in Brussels.
Curator Luk Lambrecht is already lyrical about this young promise. “I was tipped off by the painter Jan Van Imschoot, who had discovered him through his Instagram account and looked him up at Anne Wetsi Mpoma's gallery, where he had a studio.” Lambrecht was supposed to put together a show with Afrodescendant artists for CC Strombeek together with the gallery owner, but that fell through after the both abrupt and controversial resignation of the curator. Wetsi promptly invited him to Studio CityGate in Anderlecht and he immediately thought of Libasse KA."
"The self-portrait that Libasse KA drew on a gallery wall in one day and one night shows a timeline with 2010 as its hinge. In that year, he lost his mother in Senegal. A little later, he would move in with his father, who lived in Asse, the Flemish municipality just North-West of Brussels. “Here I make the link between my rational and mystical self. In the tradition of Spinoza, I investigate what we have no control over. I used to think that I had chosen the secondary art school of Sint-Lukas myself, but it was the only Flemish school within twenty minutes from Asse, so no real choice.”
The young artist then went to school at La Cambre and worked briefly at a call centre, but that “was only killing time.” Now he wants to paint. His work is influenced by the geometric figures of Mondriaan and the Ghent painter Mario De Brabandere, whom he got to know in Galerie De Ziener in Asse. “Simple things that make you feel something and trigger your eyes with their rhythms and colours,” he says. “I find poetry in them. These days, many black artists paint mainly black portraits. It sells better because it is politically correct. But I have trouble with art without depth. With me it is never black and white.”
“What do people think of when I, as a black person, draw a dark swimmer?” he suddenly looks at us questioningly. Well – cliché – a refugee who fell out of a crowded boat in the Mediterranean? “Voilà, while I grew up by the sea and always thought swimming was super cool!” The drummer he painted refers to rhythmics, and to Miles Davis. He once said that when black jazz musicians put on white suits they are making a statement. “You can't dismiss music like that as wild or naive. It has been thought through!”"
Ivan Put for Bruzz.
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