Beverly Barkat’s work in Rome

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After the Tribes in Rome
, a site-specific installation by South African artist Beverly Barkat remains on view until 31 December at the Museo Boncompagni Ludovisi. The presentation of the work is curated by Dr. Giorgia Calò with the support of the Nomas Foundation.

“The artist’s work concentrates on colour and material to produce a complex universe of symbols and citations,” explains Dr. Calò, “which she accesses via her unmistakable painterly gesture, drawing inspiration as much from classical tradition as from modern art movements such as Abstract Expressionism. We could define her work as being alchemical, in that she transmutes substances, going beyond the physical to imbue them with mystical and spiritual qualities.”

The new work evokes the origins of the Jewish people, and their journey through history. The work is displayed in the beautiful Salone delle Vedute. The geometrical forms decorating both the interiors and the façade of the twentieth century urban villa echo Barkat’s impressive work.

Each of the twelve tribes of Israel are symbolised through specific tones echoing their banners and representative gemstones. These colours are replicated by the artist via an elaborate process of seeking, gathering, cataloguing, and reusing materials from her homeland. Shells, stratified stones, semi-precious stones, sand, rock, and clay from caves, the desert, the sea, and the mountains of Israel are transformed into the essential and conceptual colours of Barkat’s installation.

Image: After the Tribes, Beverly Barkat in Rome, Museo Boncompagni Ludovisi © Vartivar Jaklian