John Madu and Ousmane Niang: Figures of Power is still on view at Afikaris in Paris, France until August 14, 2021
Through the eyes of Nigerian artist John Madu and Senegalese painter Ousmane Niang, the exhibition Figures of Power brings together and confronts two very different pictorial languages, to ultimately suggest several readings of power. Both artists use their art as a weapon. They both appropriate history and take a stand. While Ousmane Niang examines the relationship between the dominant and the dominated, he does not remain a spectator and suggests solutions to the rampant societal issues. Similarly, John Madu overturns traditional clichés of domination and launches a debate on identity, in a context of globalisation. He moves away from stereotypes of gender, class, and origin, to better deconstruct them. In this way, each colours their work with their own definition of call for action and power.
Lebo Thoka and Margaret Ngigi: I Exist! is still on view at AKKA Project in Venice, Italy until August 21, 2021
“I Exist!” features Lebo Thoka from South Africa and Margaret Ngigi from Kenya, two emerging artists able to capture with their cameras the endless facets of being a woman in Africa. In her body of work, Lebo is paying a tribute to women who have been victims to femicidal violence in South Africa. She doesn’t want to deny the horror and brutality experienced by women but she wants to show their dignity and glory, more than to portray them “just as victims”. For Margaret the focal point in her projects are women, their social roles and issues they face. The body of work included in “I Exist!” aims to represent the wedding veil as a way to consolidate women’s social role in the traditional culture of her country, Kenya.
Mother of Mankind is still on view at HOFA in London, United Kingdom until August 31, 2021
Mother of Mankind sheds light on a new generation of rising artists whose work challenges and deconstructs art historical canons of representation. Each artist investigates, in her own unique way, current perceptions of identity, gender, sexuality, family and society, all the while bringing forth her personal experience and a distinct visual narrative across a range of media. The artists portray varied self-definitions of the Black woman, in light of a new approach and artistic contribution to contemporary art. Placing her as the central figure, they draw upon visual cues from diverse galvanic portraitures to achieve a balance between realism and abstraction, forms and textures, power and vulnerabilities. In the spirit of social change and reform, each brings forth a new position, in lieu of a new definition of the Black woman. Rather than attributing new roles to this marginalized figure, they establish a new space for existing roles to be challenged and shared.
Sungi Mlengeya: Just Disruptions is still on view at Afriart Gallery in Kampala, Uganda until August 19, 2021
Just Disruptions is a debut solo exhibition, inviting to look closely and intently at Sungi Mlengeya’s canonical works. She has developed a distinct style, striking a balance between scarcity and abundance which ruptures into a force, coursing through Sungi’s artistic choices and her point of activism, for the rightful existence and representation of women in East Africa and beyond. Mlengeya platforms her figures onto the totality of white spaces, untethered from individual and societal expectations that plot a web of oppressive narratives across/onto the lived and embodied experiences of black women. These white spaces can serve as a way to recognize freedom as an uncanny element – something familiar yet unknown.
Emeka Ogboh: Song of the Union is still on view at Burns Monument in Edinburgh, United Kingdom until August 29, 2021
On the 29th January 2020, as the United Kingdom departed the European Union and as a final gesture of farewell, Members of the European Parliament took to their feet in Brussels, held hands and sang Robert Burns’ ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – a song which has come to represent solidarity, friendship and open doors. The following week, Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh stood in the Robert Burns Monument in Edinburgh and conceived of Song of the Union, a sound installation featuring singers from all 27 EU member states living in Scotland today, as well as one from the recently departed UK. The resulting polyphonic choir gives voice to those who were unable to vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum, and has been created at a time when the post-Brexit reality is still far from resolved.