JAMM REK: QUOTIDIEN SENEGAL by Laylah Amatullah Barrayn

MAK Gallery, Venice, Italy
24 Aug 2019 - 10 Sep 2019

Guet Ndar Vert Saint-Louis (2016)

Guet Ndar Vert Saint-Louis (2016)

Mak Gallery presents the solo exhibition by award-winning New York based American documentary and portrait photographer, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn’s entitled JAMM REK: QUOTIDIEN SENEGAL curated by Atim Annette Oton. It will open just prior to the Biennale Cinema in Venice from August 24 through September 10, 2019 with a Soft launch opening to be held on Saturday August 24, 2:00pm to 4:00pm, a Press/VIP Opening on Monday 26, 2019, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and an Artist Talk from 4:00pm to 7:00pm.

Jamm Rek is a response commonly used in Senegal when a person is greeted. It loosely means, ‘peace only’ in Wolof, an indigenous language of Senegal. It is a fitting title for Laylah Amatullah Barrayn’s solo exhibition which is a visual register of her travels to various cities in the West African nation for the last 20 years. Barrayn often heard the phrase invoked to describe an array of circumstances, good, bad or complicated, which spoke to the sense of gratitude and spiritual connectedness of the Senegalese people she met. “I sought to capture an intense sense of tranquility capturing the physical space I inhabited at the very moment.”

New York based Nigerian American Curator Atim Annette Oton who has known Laylah Amatullah Barrayn for over 12 years selected her as the first artist to present for her collaboration with Mak Gallery because her photography is unique, poetic and dynamic storytelling of Senegal, its people and cities through the eyes of an American muslim woman who grew up in Harlem. “Her work moves you, it is what a good photojournalist does well and so much what artist captures”, says Oton.

This exhibition examines how Senegal inspired Barrayn to document its vibrant indoor scenes, outdoor vistas, its people from children playing to prayer in mosques, from intimate moments to public spectacles, from personal and private spaces capturing vibrant colors, textures, styles and fashion. The works spotlighted in the show speak to the diversity of Senegalese people, the city’s rhythm, and collective experiences of the city and the landscapes. Jamm Rek features large potraits, intimate compositions of Senegalese men, women and children at work, at play and in relaxation.

The exhibtion will head to Mak Gallery in London at the end of September just in time for 1:54 African Art Fair. More details about the exhibition can be found at www.makgallery.com. Some Images of the exhibition are attached and can be requested.

Laylah Amatullah Barrayn is an award-winning documentary and portrait photographer working in the medium for 20 years. Through photography, Barrayn engages communities of the global Black diaspora on how identity is expressed collectively and as individuals. She is the co-author of MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. It is the first anthology in nearly 30 years that highlights photography produced by women of African descent. She is also a candidate for a Masters of Art at New York University. Ms. Barrayn is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. Her work has been supported with grants and fellowships from Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies, the Research Foundation of the City University of New York, En Foco and The Brooklyn Arts Council.

Atim Annette Oton is the curator for the Jamm Rek exhibition in Venice and in London. Based in New York City area, she is a Nigerian-born, American and British educated designer turned art curator who grew up in Nigeria with her mother collecting and buying contemporary. She is the African Art Curator for Amref Health Africa ArtBall for the past 4 years which honored Wangechi Mutu, El Anatsui, Toyin Ojih Odutola and Zanele Muholi. She is the Curator and founder of Harlem based Calabar Gallery and was the Curator for Community Engagement for the Bronx: Africa exhibition at Longwood Gallery. In 2016, she launched The Gallery at Calabar in Harlem focused on contemporary African Artists and African Diaspora artists globally whose work is inspired and influenced by black and global African culture globally investigating dynamic ideas about art, culture and society.

MAK GALLERY is a creative initiative with global reach, has an ambitious goal: to provide an alternative platform for the presentation of socially-engaging art. The gallery seeks to unearth and highlight identity politics within contemporary art, introducing the potential of emerging and evolving art scenes. MAK aims to foster a close collaboration between artists, curators, and cultural institutions in the UK and abroad. In Venice, the Gallery uses space at Calle Regina, 2261, 30135 Venezia VE, Italy. This is the 12th year in business.



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