My artistic practice is structured around research-based projects that examine the intersections of geo-politics, entertainment, art, and propaganda. I give material form to international affairs while working across a range of media including video, sound, performance, collage, and installation. I aim to maintain a degree of lightness and humor in my work that balances its conceptual framework. The following four projects have come to define my practice.

This is Rwanda (2004 – 20)

In 1994, from April to July, eight hundred thousand Rwandans were slaughtered by ethnic Hutu extremists. Between 1996 and 1997 I documented the aftermath of this genocide on behalf of the UN Refugee Agency. In 2004, I stopped practicing international law and moved to New York City to pursue a career as an artist.

“This is Rwanda” is an art project that examines a response to the genocide that exceeds the rationality of official state and multilateral organizations. The project is ongoing.

Canary Space Ship (2007 – 08)

“Canary Space Ship” is a complex of pre-used birdcages, connected by wire, glue, tape and wool. Inside the complex are three live canaries. Each bird is tagged with an aluminum band featuring my studio address. This precaution must be taken in case the space ship is captured by extraterrestrials.

Impression, mena (2010 – 18)

Soon after my first solo exhibition in New York City in 2008 with the legendary ‘Jack the Pelican Presents’, I moved to Amman, Jordan. I began to produce a body of work that draws from my experience as a foreigner living and working in the Arab world. Through irony and critique, each work interrogates the lens of (mis)understanding that colors my apprehension of contemporary issues throughout the region.

“Impression, mena” consists of works made in Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. At the time of writing, I am developing a new project in Libya.

Ghetto Biennale (2013 – 17)

Atis Rezistans is an art collective based in Port-au Prince, Haiti. In 2009 they launched the Ghetto Biennale, an international forum for artists, filmmakers, academics and writers. The biennale is an attempt to transform spaces considered un-navigable into ephemeral creative platforms. I had the chance to participate in three consecutive editions of this event.

 

Contact Tom Bogaert


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