Kotama Bouabane: Follow Suit
Toronto-based Kotama Bouabane's most recent photographs depict a surreal theme park just outside of Beijing called The World. Promoted with the slogan "See the entire world without ever leaving Beijing," it features over 100 immediately recognizable international monuments. Experiencing explosive growth, China is portrayed as a country inescapably influenced by globalization. Bouabane's images depict a place hybridized between the signs and ideologies of the East and West. In the ersatz landscapes of the theme park, the shifts between documentary and staged photography are difficult to distinguish. A photograph of a lone house with a terracotta roof and a manicured lawn mimics an empty American suburb. A faded model of New York’s twin towers replicate the past in the present, while other images play off the duplicate to create a similar sense of the uncanny. Bouabane's focus on the prevalence of copy, imitation and pastiche in China are indicative of the nature of the photographic medium itself.
Kotama Bouabane has an MFA in Studio Arts, Photography from Concordia University, Montreal and a AOCAD from OCAD. His work has been exhibited in many galleries including Parisian Laundry (Montreal), Jen Bekman (New York) and Gallery TPW (Toronto). He has received many awards and grants, and is one of the 2012 Flash Forward Emerging Photographers winners.
Images courtesy Erin Stump Projects, Toronto.