Group show ‚Foreign Bodies‘ and ‚Lakin Ogunbanwo‘ exhibition

whatiftheworld, Cape Town
05 Dec 2015 - 23 Jan 2016

Group show ‚Foreign Bodies‘ and ‚Lakin Ogunbanwo‘ exhibition

Moffat Takadiwa 'The Narratives', 2015

Two new exhibitions open at WHATIFTHEWORLD this Saturday: ‘Foreign Bodies’ a group show of new work by Sanell Aggenbach, Julia Rosa Clark, Pierre Fouché, Dan Halter, Mohau Modisakeng, Athi-Patra Ruga, Rowan Smith and Moffat Takadiwa. And a solo presentation by ‘Lakin Ogunbanwo’.

Collectively the works of Foreign Bodies take the temperature of national belonging. The title plays on two closely-linked interpretations of a “foreign body”, one perhaps more political and one more material (although as these works demonstrate, that distinction is never as clear as it may seem). The first calls to mind the figure of the migrant entering “local” space – a stranger in a strange land – and the second suggests an intruding parasite that triggers an immune reaction in a body made suddenly strange to itself. Each is foreign only inasmuch as they penetrate an already porous frontier, and that frontier is at best merely an idea of difference: the border is, after all, a site where otherness is not just held at bay but actively constructed. Without borders between skin and world, indigenous and foreign, how would we know where “we” end and the rest begins?

Without claiming authoritative or absolute answers, Foreign Bodies engages what is alien to us – biologically, psychologically, socially, personally and politically – and examines how we might better read bodies not our own. More than that, together these artists posit the possibility of reading our own bodies, both fleshy and national, differently.

I was gonna cancel. Courtesy: Lakin Ogunbanwo

I was gonna cancel. Courtesy: Lakin Ogunbanwo

Lakin Ogunbanwo’s new body of work is a series of enigmatic portraits that explore identity. By purposefully obscuring the individual identity of the sitters, Ogunbanwo draws attention to what it is that defines an individual within a larger cultural collective; who this individual may be and how they want to be perceived. He has pared down the communicative aspect of the project to the power of the hat – ‘that witty but vital accessory in fashion’ – to speak of masculine identity.

Ogunbanwo’s project began in 2012 when he first became interested in the traditional dress of ethnic groups in Nigeria: the Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa-Fulani and others. Dress is a very clear indicator of ethnic identity in Nigeria and Ogunbanwo has observed the younger generation creating contemporary hybrids of western and traditional, reinventing the visual codes through which they publicly communicated aspects of themselves. In Ogunbanwo’s signature style of elegant minimalism the aesthetic focus in this series, as in the rest of his work, is on light texture shape and silhouette.



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