Conceived as a collaboration between artist Angelo Bellobono and New York/Milan art collector Michela Bondardo, “Before me and after my time” is an exhibition exploring the artist’s investigation of belonging, identity, transformation and the changing nature of things. Once again Bellobono extends his painting practice towards projects that collectively highlight community engagement.
A series of geological and personal coincidences led him to draw a connection between the American Appalachians and the Moroccan Atlas, where Bellobono has created Atla(s)now, a community platform for cross-disciplinary collaboration where art and skiing positively enrich the local Berber communities. These mountain ranges were once connected as part of the mega-continent Pangea, and were separated as a result of shifting tectonic plates 150 million years ago.
This discovery of the common tectonic origin of these mountains has sparked Bellobono’s desire to investigate the history of the first people who populated New York and the Appalachians, the native American “Lenni Lenape” who gave the name to Manhattan, which derives from “Manna-Hatta, the island of many hills”. The Lenape closest to Manhattan are living today in the area around Ringwood and Mahwah on the Ramapo Mountains of New Jersey.
Bellobono noticed that both the Lenape and the Berbers are faced with similar problems linked to the exploitation and use of their land in ways that cause serious health damage. The Berbers have experienced water pollution at Imiter in the Moroccan Atlas as the result of silver mining, and the Lenape have been affected by the tons of toxic waste material dumped from a Ford plant near Ringwood, NJ.
“Before me and after my time” consists of a series of paintings, representing the constant geological change and the fragility of personal identity and borders. The subject matter of some of the artworks is soil collected in the area polluted by the Ford plant.One of the aims of this exhibition is serving as a platform for the Ramapough Lenape Nation in New York City to document and communicate their cultural heritage and their commitment to environmental preservation.
The show is complemented by a series of talks/conversations in presence of Lenape representatives, as well as screenings of the Atla(s)now project in order to share experiences from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Angelo Bellobono. Floating Border, 2014
- Angelo Bellobono. Moving Border Peak #1, 2014