ArtGallé Amy Sow, Nouakchott, Mauritania 15 Feb 2020 - 01 Mar 2020
By Tegene Kunbi (Detail)
On 15 February, ArtGallé Amy Sow will open an exhibition by two internationally active artists, Berlin-based Ethiopian Tegene Kunbi and Mauritanian Saleh Lô. The exhibition, aptly titled Abstract // Figures, showcases both painters’ engagement with figurative and abstract representation of nature and society as well as the connection between their works.
In Kunbi’s brightly coloured abstract paintings, contradictory elements come together in harmonious landscape themes and agricultural structures. The friction between flat geometrical forms and complex layers of paint saturates Kunbi’s colourscapes with unexpected depth and playfully reflects on his experiences at the intersection of two contrasting cultures and environments, Ethiopia and Germany.
These landscapes enter into a dialogue with Lô’s impressively meticulous portraits of Mauritania’s ethnic minorities and socially marginalised groups, in which he confronts issues such as modern-day slavery, racism and homelessness, and his more experimental abstract works, which like Kunbi’s employ layering techniques to achieve their striking visual effect. This interplay of representational and abstract approaches, the precise and the experimental, nature and humanity, creates a fascinating panorama of artistic expression.
The exhibition forms part of a month-long residency project to facilitate artistic exchange between both painters and local young artists, which also includes workshops and presentations. The project is funded by ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Germany’s oldest intermediary organisation for international cultural relations, for which Saleh Lô is CCP Country Representative RIM.
About the artists:
Tegene Kunbi was born in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, where he completed the first part of his Fine Arts education before coming to Germany with the help of the renowned DAAD stipend and obtaining a Masters’ degree at the University of the Arts Berlin. He has exhibited extensively both in Germany and abroad with solo or group shows in Berlin, New York, Paris, Nairobi, Amsterdam and Casablanca, among others. He lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
Saleh Lô was born in Mauritania. As a self-taught artist, he has refined hyper-realistic techniques through the study of the works of other artists and following tutorials on YouTube. His work tackles societal issues like street children, mixed-race unions and slavery. His past activities include, among others, exhibitions and projects in Nouakchott, Dakar, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, and Mumbai. He lives and works in Nouakchott, Mauritania.