HOFA, London, United Kingdom 22 Jul 2021 - 31 Aug 2021
Marcellina Akpojotor, Set to Flourish II, 2021. Fabric and acrylic on canvas, Courtesy of the artist and Rele Art
Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
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-thewhile bringing forth her personal experience and a distinct visual narrative across a range of media. More than a collection of global female artists, Mother of Mankind is envisioned as a statement, a sisterhood, and an artistic call to arms.
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.
Moving the dialogue away from a normative femininity, Mother of Mankind places the frame on the specific Black experience, by showcasing artists whose construct of femininity is conceptualized in its application to women from Africa and its diaspora. Hailing from a range of countries, from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa to Canada, the US, the UK and France, the participating artists consciously reject and redefine traditional standards of beauty, perception and representation – thereby reclaiming ownership over their narrative and elevating a Black female consciousness and identity.