A believer in the power of art to create a social and political impact, British artist Jonathan Darby spent seven months working with children in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He ran workshops for orphans, street children and child soldiers, doing murals with them and providing them with a much-needed creative outlet. Darby recently arrived in San Francisco to work in an impromptu studio above White Walls, where he will open his solo show, “CONGO,” on November 10.
A tribute to the children he worked with in Africa, the show features mixed-media portraits full of rough textures and collage elements. A portion of the show’s proceeds will be donated to the children’s charity AptART, an organization that works to empower children in poverty and war-stricken areas to express themselves. Darby is currently in the process of transforming the entire gallery space with a floor-to-cieling installation — perhaps the most ambitious installation built in White Walls in years. We visited the gallery to take a peek at the installation’s progress and to view some of the works in the show.