With hundreds of different types of butt cleaners in store, Ghita Skali’s exhibition Natuurlijk questioned what is seen as natural in regard to hygiene and cleanliness.
Skali’s new video work told the story of a proud Dutchman called Joep de Jong, who works at the flower market and is looking for a watering can to keep his tulips alive. During his quest, Joep shockingly discovers that the cans are being used for different purposes… Through humour, caricature and stereotyping, Skali discusses existing power relations regarding the definition of hygiene, that stem from a colonial past but are still present today. A past in which Western ideas of hygiene and cleanliness were pushed into colonised countries and the norms of native cultures were looked down upon. The artist showed how what’s ‘natural’ is a cultural construct, carrying bias.
The exhibition Natuurlijk familiarised visitors with the cultural diversity in the world of hygiene. Because who decides what is normal and what is not? How to clean your teeth or butt?
Ghita Skali is an artist based in Amsterdam. She studied in France, first at Villa Arson, Nice then at the post-graduate program of the Fine Arts School in Lyon. She was a De Ateliers (Amsterdam) participant between 2018 and 2020.
Skali uses odd news, rumours and propaganda to disrupt institutional power structures such as the western contemporary art world, state oppression and government politics. Her work often ends up as a strong critique with outcomes that penetrate channels that go beyond the exhibition space taking the form of informal trade of goods, legal documents, and things you take home for a warm night tea.
She notably exhibited her work recently at Kunsthal extra City (Antwerp), Palais de Tokyo (Paris) and at the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam).