“I Always Face You, Even When It Seems Otherwise” features the work of US based Nigerian arist Njideka Akunyili and American artist Simone Leigh.
The artists will present new works in painting, ceramic and sculptural installation. The pieces further their respective expolrations and engagements with disparate, yet overlapping ideas including contact zone, language and lived experiences, as well as in the process and materiality.
Njideka Akunyili’s work, a collage of drawing, painting and printmaking are intricate personal narratives of professional encounters, taking references from Western painting, or personal ones from her daily interactions with family and people she meets. Akunyili considers these meeting points as important ‘contact zones’ in her exploration of new visual languages. Her new large-scale paintings depict children, focusing on the sartorial aspect of portraiture to highlight the way in which a person is presented and viewed though their choice of dressing. In cerating her portraits, her references and influences remain multifaceted, inspired by literature, art history, as well as popular culture.
Simone Leigh workes in ceramics, sculpture, video and performance art. She will present new ceramic installations that emphasis her interest in collapsing the boundaries between ‘high’ art and craft. Borrowing from traditional African techniques of pottery she infuses her ceramic objects with a contemporary aesthetic. Leigh’s critically acclaimed cowrie shells cast from watermelon peels synchronises symbolic objects of an African past with a diasporic present. The cowrie shells construct new meanings outside their use as a form of monetary exchange, whilst the use of watermelons points implicity to their historical significance as discriminatory symbols. Leigh’s work is grounded in her interest in African art as well as her extensive research in colonial and anthropological histories.
These two artists were selected by Tiwani’s Curatorial Advisor Bisi Silva, to take part in the October show.
Private View 10 October, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Art Connect Events:
Njideka Akunyili and Simone Leigh in conversation with Bisi Silva, 19 October, 3:00pm
Performance by Simone Leigh, 19 October, 4:30pm