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You are here: Home Artists Oslo, February 2010 Sasha Huber

Sasha Huber, SF

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My shoes, by Sasha Huber Shooting, by Sasha Huber
  • Sasha HuberBorn 1975
  • Country of origin: Switzerland
  • Resides: Helsinki
  • Medium of work: Drawing, Photography, Sculpture, mixed media, video

Sasha Huber was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1975, and currently lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Her background is in graphic design, which she studied in Zurich. In 2000 she received a scholarship to Fabrica, Benetton’s communication research centre in Treviso, Italy. In 2006 she graduated from the University of Art and Design in Helsinki with an MA in Visual Cultures.

 

In her work she examines her roots and their influence on the process of building a personal and artistic identity. Being of Haitian and European heritage she allies herself with the Caribbean Diaspora. She has been unable to visit her mother’s homeland, Haiti, because of continuing security risks. Her work combines political criticism with an aesthetic rendering of the subject matter. Firing an uncountable number of staples into wooden surfaces is just one of the ways she realizes her ideas. In one such project this literally involved shooting portraits of Christopher Columbus and former Haitian Dictators.

She also works with video, photographs, drawings, documentary material, and more recently with interactive dialogue in the form of interventions. One of these interventions involved flying to the Agassizhorn, a mountain in the Swiss Alps named after the Swiss naturalist and racist Louis Agassiz, and renaming the mountain Rentyhorn in honour of a slave – called Renty – used by Agassiz in his research. Huber has been showing her work collaboratively and in solo exhibitions in Finland and abroad since 2003.

A central starting point for my work as an artist is examining my roots and how they influence the process of building up my personal and artistic identity. In the early sixties my grandfather, artist George Remponeau gradually moved his family to New York as living in the dictator-led Haiti had become alarmingly dangerous. My Swiss father met my Haitian-born mother in New York in the early seventies. I grew up in Zürich, Switzerland but nowadays I live and work in Helsinki, Finland.

Being of mixed heritage Haitian and European roots, unable to visit my mother's homeland  - Haiti - because of security risks, I ally myself with the Caribbean Diaspora. I want to express political criticism by combining it with an aesthetic rendering of the subject matter.

I started off my identity work feeling upset with the historical injustice embedded in colonialism. Shooting back is a triptych portrait of first of all Christopher Columbus – the Western hero who killed 3 to 4 million Arawak Indians after arriving in 1492 in Hispaniola, later called Haiti. The two other personas in the work are the Haitian dictators ‘Papa Doc’ and his son ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier. I fired some 80 000 staples with a staple gun on found driftwood – my revenge was to literally nail the dictators. I later applied the same technique to other works, like the portrait of the executor of North American Indians and black people, the last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam (1647–1664), Peter Stuyvesant. The city is called New York nowadays and is also one of the homes of my extended family.

My attitude to work has transformed from anger management towards a quest for understanding, like in the case of endangered gorillas as a subject.  I am also striving for a more interactive dialogue by means of intervention. Flying to Agassizhorn, a mountain in the Swiss alps named after the Swiss naturalist and racist Louis Agassiz, and renaming it Rentyhorn after a slave he used in his research was one such action. My art became part of the international anti-racist campaign De-mountain Louis Agassiz, an effort to rename the mountain Rentyhorn for good and thus reshape collective identities.

 
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