Halter, Daniel b.1977 / Rifugiata Mappa del Mondo
about this work
'Rifugiata Mappa del Mondo' is a map of the world loosely based on infographics showing areas according to immigration and emigration statistics. Areas and routes with increased emigration are more worn than the destination countries, constructed out of new and used plastic-mesh bags. These works were stitched together by Sibongile Chinjonjo, a Zimbabwean refugee currently living in South Africa.

The work is titled 'Rifugiato Mappa del Mondo', a nod to Alighiero Boetti’s Mappa, key to the ArtePovera, the “poor art” movement, which used commonplace materials in an attempt to knock high artoff its privileged pedestal.
Halter has used these cheap woven bags in his art for many years, but with this work they become the dominant note and theme that run through the show. Found bags, worn to the point of uselessness, are carefully embroidered with sayings such as “Efiewura sua me” (“Help me carry this bag” in the Twi language of Ghana) and “Ghana must go”, a reference to the name of the bags in Nigeria in the 1990s when, during outbreaks of xenophobia, Ghanaians were forcibly expelled. The flow of humans—expelled, migratory, returning and expelled again—can be traced in the fraying and scuff marks on the bags Halter uses as his source material. For him these bags—so quotidian, even reviled, as cheap markers of movement, informal trade and emergency travel—take on a heroic quality.

During a Glenfiddich residency in Scotland in 2010, Halter approached the leading manufacturer of Highland tartans and kilts, Johnstons of Elgin, and had them weave a fabric in the finest wool that matched the pattern of the Chinese bag. An untitled work in the show gives a key to this process and documents his correspondence with Johnstons. It is perhaps significant that Halter is playing with notions of “high” and “low”—art, manufacturing, commercial production and citizenship—in his work. 

Daniel Halter (b.1977, Zimbabwe)

Rifugiata Mappa del Mondo , 2013

Constructed from new and used plastic mesh bags
Unique variation - from a series of 8 maps in total
183 x 380 cm
72 1/16 x 149 5/8 in.
WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa Current Location:
Switzerland - Basel - S Mixed Media Wall WorkAfrica


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