Gallery 1957 presents Meeting Points and Holding On, a new solo exhibition by mixed-media Tegene Kunbi following his recent residency with the Gallery in Accra. Tegene Kunbi’s works produced at the recent Gallery 1957 residency are visual sensation statements of idiosyncratic polychromatic painterly patterns sharpened with remarkable voice.
Born in Addis Ababa in 1980 and based in Berlin, the artist’s distinctively saturated and refreshingly bold series moulded at the contemporary art gallery’s Accra space is an array of large and small canvases thickly layered with oil stick, acrylic, pastel and oil paint applied generously with palette knives, paint brushes and by hand. Even-sized rectangular grid forms are bonded within some of the interstices with thin linings of wax prints and hand woven kente cloth sourced locally from Ghana’s markets.
The 2022 Grand Prix Léopold Sédar Senghor winning artist becomes some sort of spiritual conduit- a channel of free energies and the pigmentation that floods the canvasses are regular and irregular aggregates, with porosity ranging from fluffy to compact, dishevelled to clean geomorphologic forms. Tone, material, line, colour, composition and texture find weight in the insufflating processes that lead to the final pieces burgeoning with lucid aesthetic life.
Ghana has been a viable crucible for Kunbi’s alchemy tapped from everyday outlets of life in inspirational waves of flux, leading to works birthed from a keen sense of social spiritedness, engagement and channelling of colour. “Colour is everything and everywhere. Colour is life. Colour is identity and in itself, conceptually ingrained,” he explains. The tessellation of vividly mapped out worlds within Kunbi’s work seemingly spills out with an impetus for new emotions of colour almost ungraspable by human senses.
Tegene Kunbi’s art stands for the depth of proverbs, the lightness of waving hearts, the diversity of tones, the harmony in faith of overcoming shared struggles, the cruciality of emotion in creative stance and the freedoms in processes of making. This series from his Gallery 1957 residency are basically pianos standing on their shorter ends where each key plays a different note but altogether make breath taking music, allowing freedom of interpretation and reason for connection.