October Gallery, London, presents INTERWOVEN HISTORIES, an exhibition of compelling mixed-media works by artists from Africa. With remarkable new works by artists, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga, Nnenna Okore and Romuald Hazoumè, this exhibition will also introduce works by artist Adejoke Tugbiyele.
This exhibition looks at the creative force of the hand. Instead of using traditional artistic tools and technology, each artist weaves or moulds together potent narratives by hand.
Adejoke Tugbiyele (Nigeria/USA) is a sculptor. Sourcing most of her materials from Africa, Tugbiyele creates her works from palm stems, traditional broomsticks, natural fibres, wood and fabric. Spiritual aspects of Yoruba culture inspire and inform her sculpture. She also deals with political subjects related to sexual identity, women’s rights and human rights. Tugbiyele’s work has been exhibited at institutions internationally. This will be the first time her works will be exhibited at October Gallery.
Romuald Hazoumè (Benin) is one of Africa’s foremost contemporary artists and a master of many diverse media. Hazoumè’s astute and sardonically political oeuvre includes multi-media installation, sculpture, video, photography and painting. Using the ubiquitous plastic petrol-can as his iconic signature, Hazoumè undertakes monumental installations that act as metaphors of African place, history and identity. Whether taking aim at endemic political corruption in Africa or addressing the global indifference compounding environmental disasters, Hazoumè creates visually striking works, capable of compressing bewildering details into complex, yet nuanced metaphors that contain many powerful ideas.
Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga (Kenya/USA) is a sculptor whose works are resourcefully created from textured sheet metal and steel wire. Naomi physically applies a particular technique in which rolls of sheet metal are immersed in water to create multifaceted effects. The corroded metals align with the concept of Jua Kali, a Swahili adage which translates literally as ‘under the hot sun’, in reference to the appreciation for serendipitous outcomes born out of discarded materials. Manipulating these chance effects, Gakunga adds dye and elaborate folds, to create her shimmering sculptures.
Nnenna Okore (Nigeria/USA) has emerged as one of the most interesting artists of her generation. Her large abstract works broadly focus on the transformation and regeneration of forms, based on observations of ecological and manmade environments. She uses materials such as newspapers, fibres, clay and burlap to create intricate sculptural installations through repetitive and labour-intensive techniques, such as weaving, twisting, sewing, dyeing, waxing and rolling. Her works explore the exquisite qualities of detailed surfaces and the surprisingly dramatic exuberance of organic formations.