Mythopoeia: Mequitta Ahuja, Kapwani Kiwanga, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Alida Rodrigues

Tiwani Contemporary, London, United Kingdom
10 Apr 2015 - 09 May 2015

Mythopoeia: Mequitta Ahuja, Kapwani Kiwanga, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Alida Rodrigues

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, The Star + The Moon, (Detail) 2011, Stop-motion animation

Tiwani Contemporary announces Mythopoeia, a group exhibition gathering four international artists: Mequitta Ahuja (USA), Kapwani Kiwanga (Canada), Alida Rodrigues (Angola/UK) and Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum (Botswana/South Africa).

The exhibition title, drawn from the Greek ‘muthopoios’ and meaning ‘composer of fiction’, points to the age-old role of storytelling and mythologising in rationalising the unknown. Working across a variety of media including painting, sculpture, photography, video and drawing, participating artists share an interest in crafting their own, new mythologies: personal cosmologies and fictional worlds with endless potential for interpreting and re-inventing our reality.

Present in all societies, ancient and modern, myths have long been of interest to artists and thinkers as a key to understanding culture. Mythopoeia suggests that contemporary art can offer a similar opportunity to re-interpret the world, and constitutes a mythic system in itself: a machine for generating stories and images that help us comprehend our world, but which might also reaffirm its singularity and power.

Mequitta Ahuja will debut new work – large, bold paintings depicting “The Journeyman,” the artist/craftsman as both archetype and individual. In these psychologically charged self-portraits, Ahuja references the city of Siena, a historical link between paint and alchemy, and the tripartite relationship between source material, creative thought and crafted form.

Kapwani Kiwanga will also present new, unseen work produced especially for this exhibition. A number of sculptural assemblages will be on display, drawing on her long-standing interest in the legend of Drexciya: the underwater city founded by African slaves who were drowned during the Middle Passage. A voyage into the depths of collective black consciousness, the work refers to cultural mutation through Vodoun mythology in Benin, popular beliefs in Haiti, and the contemporary urban mythology of the Detroit techno group Drexciya.

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s drawings and video animations allude to mythological musings on the beginning of time, geological speculations of the Earth’s structure, theories on the nature of the universe, and, most recently, 18th-century European Romanticist landscape painting. Her drawings, narrative landscapes that appear simultaneously futuristic and ancient, shift between representational and fantastical depictions of volcanic, subterranean and cosmological landscapes.

While the iconography of the plant-human hybrid finds a resonance within classical European mythology, particularly in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Alida Rodrigues‘ practice explores shifting senses of identity within the context of historicised globalisation. Her collages, created from applying cuttings of botanical images to found Victorian postcards, highlight the interrelation between science, exoticism and commerce within Britain’s colonial past.

Private View: Thursday 9 April 2015, 6:30 – 8:30pm



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