Michael Soi, 2018. Image courtesy of the artist and Gallery 1957.
This April, Gallery 1957 presents a collaborative exhibition from two artists hailing from different sides of the continent and exploring satirical recordings of experiences within Africa. Almost True by Michael Soi and Bright Ackwerh explores satire within a public setting.
The value of satire is often seen to only entertain, however, it is a route to highlight sensitive social, political, religious and economic concerns. Acting as an alternate narrative, satirical work broadcasts the otherwise unmentionable. Almost True highlights appreciation for satire on a deeper level, presenting it as an authentic genre within contemporary art, as well as a source of intellectual value which understands society.
The title ironically implies the visual narratives presented in the exhibited works are non-truths, when in fact they are exaggerated recordings of the artists’ personal experiences. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Oduro-Frimpong, a media anthropologist and Director of the Center for African Popular Culture at Ashesi University.
Michael W. Soi is a Kenyan artist who has been working in Nairobi since 1995, following the completion of his fine art and art history studies. Soi is inspired by contemporary life in Nairobi. His work provides a photographic diary of Nairobi and is a satirical commentary of social, economic and political trends. His work explores relationships – intergenerational, interracial or generally what he calls the economics of love, commercial sex work and popular culture – within the context of globalization and consumerism
Bright Ackwerh employs the domains of popular art, street art, painting, and illustration to voice and document his provoking sentiments within the themes he explores. He has exhibited widely in Ghana and West Africa, as an emerging contemporary artist. He has given talks about his work at Ashesi University as well as Yale University. In 2016, he won the Kuenyehia Prize for Contemporary Ghanaian Art.