Melanie Bonajo has created a Fundraising Edition portfolio for Printed Matter, Völkerschau; At first I felt hopeful, a series of 20 unique black-and-white photographic prints. The work features images taken by Bonajo during a visit to the zoo, each focusing on a different animal: a chimpanzee, polar bear, and penguin, among others. The artist has hand-printed each work (measuring 12 x 16 in.), and as part of her darkroom process subjected the surface of each print to various kinds of material manipulation, using glitter, copper mesh, paint, and other media. These works further explore Bonajo’s interest in nature photography and humankind’s attitudes toward the natural world, aiming to create a fictional space for Human Persons and Non-Human Persons to connect with one another.
Dutch multidisciplinary artist Melanie Bonajo (b. 1978) examines the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort with a strong sense of community, equality, and body politics. Through her videos, performances, photographs, and installations, she studies subjects related to how technological advances and commodity-based pleasures increase feelings of alienation, removing a sense of belonging in an individual. Captivated by concepts of the divine, Bonajo explores the spiritual emptiness of her generation, examines peoples’ shifting relationship with nature, and tries to understand existential questions by reflecting on our domestic situation, ideas around classification, concepts of home, gender, and attitudes towards value. Melanie Bonajo has exhibited work both nationally and internationally at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Design Museum, Ghent, Tate Modern, London, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Fondazione Prada, Milan, and MoMA/P.S.1, New York. In 2018, Bonajo was nominated for both the Amsterdamprijs voor de Kunst and the Nam June Paik Award.