“What’chu Looking at? Who you Speaking with?” A Gazing All Round
Commissioned by Spazju Kreattiv
Curated by Dr Bernard Akoi- Jackson
Space A, Spazju Kreattiv, Castille Place, Valletta
Visited by special guests First Lady of Ethiopia and First Lady of Malta:
Curatorial note by Dr Bernard Akoi-Jackson
The continent known as Africa is a complex, intricate and unfathomable entity. There has always been this futile quest, particularly in the west, to totalize Africa. We are adequately informed, especially through the work of the multitude of creatives that operate from Africa and her Diaspora, that it is impossible to do so. So, in what ways are contemporary African artists expressing their many lived realities across a continent made up of fifty-four (54) countries in this current experience? With what materials, media, techniques and technologies are their ideas being wrought into objects, situations and complex aesthetic propositions? What, in terms of globality, constitutes our collective becomingness and imagination in the recent experience of the world? This exhibition, curated by Dr Bernard Akoi-Jackson, proposes an investigation of some of the possible responses to the above stated questions in a variety of novel and audacious forms.
The first part of the title: “What’chu Looking at? Who you Speaking with?” bears a similar sense of audacity and daring. Even though it sounds accusatory, it is not. What is intended is a provocation towards reflexivity. The second part, A Gazing all Round suggests that the erstwhile othering gaze is now shared all around, such that there is neither any subject nor object. What we have now is a common sphere of looking back and forth. What this two-way, or indeed, poly-reciprocal gaze yields cannot be pinpointed. It is something that is imminent. We all live to learn what it becomes. This is an exhibition of contemporary Art from an intricate entity.
AKWASI BEDIAKO AFRANE (Ghanaian)
BLICK BASSY (Cameroonian)
CHRISTIAN GUEREMATCHI (Slovenian- Dutch)
DEREJE SHIFERAW (Ethiopian)
ERIC GYAMFI (Ghanaian)
PATRICK TAGOE- TURKSON (Ghanaian)
PRISCILLA KENNEDY (Ghanaian)
NELAGO SHILONGOH (Namibian)
TRACY NAA KOSHIE THOMPSON (Ghanaian)
CHRISTINE XUEREB SEIDU
Artist: Akwasi Bediako AFRANE
Title: Kwasiada Frankaa
Medium: Virtual Reality (V.R), Gaming, 3D animation video and Augmented Reality (A.R)
By blurring the boundaries of the physical space and the virtual, numerous substances of all kinds of media play with an audience’s perception of what reality is. Kwasiada Frankaa is an experimental simulation of the TRONS aimed at exploring available virtual platforms, and investigating how these podiums can help the audience to experience the TRONS by engaging them through Virtual Reality (V.R), Gaming, 3D animation video and Augmented Reality (A.R) applications.
Artist: Blick BASSY
Title: Future Lullaby
Future Lullaby is a short film about lullabies starring the young and very talented tik toker Diana Bouli. It follows a mother who, from one era to the next, waits every night for her precious and soothing moment, punctuated by popular African lullabies she shares with her baby. Future Lullaby is an opportunity to pay tribute to mothers who very often carry the weight of family responsibilities on their shoulders alone. But it also questions the impact of a patriarchal society on women, on their relationship with themselves and their children over the years, and the return to collective family education.
Comedian: Diana Bouli
Director: Blick Bassy
Author: Blick Bassy
With the collaboration of Quai Branly museum
Artist: Christian GUEREMATCHI
Title: CRNI TITO: Blaq Tito addressing the Parliament of Ghosts
Medium: Live performance and video
Crni Tito - Blaq Tito addressing the Parliament of Ghosts is an artistic interaction between the solo-performance NAM - Non-Aligned Movement by Christian Guerematchi with the Parliament of Ghosts - the artistic work by Ibrahim Mahama in Tamale, Ghana. Both works talk about forgotten histories and their interaction acknowledges the contemporary echoes of the cultural connections from the time of the Non-Aligned Movement between Ghana and Yugoslavia - Nkrumah and Tito.
The persona of the Blaq Tito is inspired by Guerematchi’s childhood in Yugoslavia, where Tito was famous for his travels and collaborations with countless African countries. The story of the Non-Aligned Movement is the story of Guerematchi’s father who studied in Slovenia (back then Yugoslavia) and was part of an almost utopian migration story from the time of the Cold War. The Red Clay Studio art space where the Parliament of Ghosts is situated creates the perfect backdrop with its forgotten aeroplanes and its artistic architecture. Blaq Tito - himself a ghost from a forgotten past addresses the parliament of memories with an epic monologue in which past and present as well as Africa and Europe become one.
Concept/Performance: Christian Guerematchi
Text: Gita Hacham
Costume: Jonathan Ho
Video & Editing: OBL Studios
Made possible by:
FPK - Performing arts Fund NL
Red Clay Studio
Artist: Dereje SHIFERAW
Title: Ambient Realities
Medium: Mixed medium on paper
Dereje Shiferaw understands his purpose as an artist in portraying what his people (Ethiopians) go through and how he can create a dialogue between the viewer and the subject to portray these emotions in a way that can be understood. Relationships between nature, humans, culture, politics, identity, race, peace, love, freedom and beauty are at the core of his work.
Artist: Eric GYAMFI
Title: Fixing Shadows: Julius and I
Medium: Cyanotype prints and audio installation
Year: 2018- 2019
Fixing Shadows: Julius and I, presents a playful take on portraiture. The series looks at two existing photographs; A Portrait of the composer, dancer and vocalist Julius Eastman, made by W. D. Burkhadt, and a portrait of the artist. The two portraits were shared via broadcast message to the artist’s WhatsApp contacts to solicit opinions and thoughts on how persons on his contact list read and related to the two portraits. The final work constitutes an attempt to translate the feedback into new characters/persons through the possibilities offered by analogue/chemical processes in combination with varying weather/environmental conditions.
The installation consists of a 1-hour 2-minute looping audio stitched up from Whatsapp voice notes collected from friends/WhatsApp contact list and cyanotype prints.
Artist: Patrick TAGOE-TURKSON
Medium: Found Upcycled flip-flops on Suede
Audiences are invited to experience the knack of altruism and devotion coded within the artwork. The idea was activated by the words of Fati, a young local immigrant girl from Northern Ghana. Fati offered to help collect 46 kg of floating flip-flop debris from Chokor beach in Accra to create this work without taking any fee. After the collection she said in the Twi language (Ghana): “sε wo hia me biom a fremi (whenever you need me to collect some more, call me). As the world continues to fight climate change and plastic pollution, this art of selfless commitment to protecting the environment becomes even more urgent. Fremi reflects our collective interdependence. It comes alive as our discarded flip-flops spoke to us in the visual probe, translating variation of colours, natural effects, textures and patterns activated by a blend of historic traditional Akan Kente cloth of Ghana and contemporary aesthetics. It is a work that calls for reflection of our daily actions, heart and our trash and treasures within the cadence of Mother Nature.
Artist: Priscilla KENNEDY
Title: THE GRACES
Medium: Velvet fabric cutouts embroidered on single-weave Kente fabric with beads.
“The Graces” references the artist’s body as a medium or site that draws connections between both interior monologues and exterior narratives as a means of rethinking the politicised female body. She borrows certain body postures of how women have been represented through art history and uses her body within these contexts as a vehicle for making analogies and exploring narratives and cultural histories. The figure(s) in this work is an appropriation of Camilla in the “Oath of Horatii”, 1784 by Jacques-Louis David. Represented in a not-so-complex version, the figure continues to emit its gracefulness and softness but this time as a centred image overlapped by itself from a different angle. The image is interrupted by lines (routes) of significant events of Women’s marches in history and other personal daily routes of the artist— to pay tribute to thousands of women across the globe.
Artist: Nelago SHILONGOH
Title: Sâ (Rest)- in KhoeKhoegowab
Medium: Live performance and video
A performance artwork by Namibian artist Nelago Shilongoh, reflecting on the history of domestic work and black women as early as the 1910s, and its imprint as continued heritage in contemporary Namibia. The artist interrogates the concept of heritage through the matriarchal lineage of workers across black families in Namibia by interrogating what it means to dress, undress, protect, break, honour and dishonour all at the same time, the complex inheritance of this particular labour across generations. As an extension, Nelago further looks at how religion as opium, implicated social positions and possibilities of families traced from domestic work backgrounds. Along with the techniques of movement, the interdisciplinary performance features historical archives that make up part of the conversation.
- Concept: Nelago Shilongoh & Trixie Munyama
- Sound Design- Kboz (NAM)
- Vocals- Chantel ‘Enchante’/Uiras (NAM), Maggy Masango (NAM)
- Cinematography - Reggie Undjee Zaire (NAM)
- Visual Design- Victor Nwankwo (USA), Carol Ann Ardolino (USA)
- Costume- Magrietha Ethelretha Isaacks (NAM)
- Archival Photos - National Archives of Namibia
Artist: Tracy Naa Koshie THOMPSON
Medium: 3d printed topography from selected micrographs of micro-polymer structures within the substrates of Thompson’s post-produced foods
Tracy Naa Koshie Thompson critically opens the space for more than what meets the eye in terms of food and landscapes. She does so by critiquing notions of human-centeredness and scale in still-life traditions with her latest topographical works on micro-polymer structures within her post-produced foods. She post-produces contemporary Ghanaian foods like waakye (rice and beans), fufu (cassava and plantain), oats, biscuits etc. into uncanny forms that come in the form of installations suggestive of geological and biological formations. The entire process of phasing between micro and macro, computational and biological, two-dimensional and three-dimensional, resonates with the exhibition’s theme in complicating a more-than-human-centred gaze.
Title: Indomie Greens I
Medium: 3d topography generated from a micrograph of a 20-micrometre longitudinal sectioned sample (noodles bioplastic variant)
Indomie noodles are popular Indonesian noodles that dominate the fast-food chain in Ghana.
Title: Gari bumpy plains
Medium: 3d topography generated from a micrograph of a 20-micrometre transversal sectioned sample (cassava-based bioplastic variant)
Gari- Gari is a roasted grain meal made of cassava.
Title: Gari magma plains
Medium: 3d topography generated from a micrograph of a 20-micrometre transversal sectioned sample (cassava-based bioplastic variant).
Gari- Gari is a roasted grain meal made of cassava.
Title: Hyemema sponge cells
Medium: 3d topography generated from macrograph of biscuit bioplastic substrate
Hyemema - Hye me ma translates literally as ‘fill me up’. This sample was made from the staple biscuit in Ghana called Hy me ma by Piccadilly Biscuits Limited.
Title: Indomie Greens II
Medium: 3d topography generated from a micrograph of a 20-micrometre transversal sectioned sample (noodles bioplastic variant)
Indomie- Indomie noodles are popular Indonesian noodles that dominate the fast-food chain in Ghana.
Title: Tuo Zaafi Kanzo
Medium: 3d topography generated from a micrograph of a 20-micrometre transversal sectioned sample (corn and millet bioplastic variant)
Tuo Zaafi Kanzo - This was developed from a micrograph of a Tuo Zaafi sample. Tuo Zaafi is a local meal in Ghana and Hausa culture, made of wheat and corn flour shaped in porridge balls for eating soups and stews. Kanzo in Ghana is the burnt part of food that forms mostly at the base of pans, as a coagulated burnt mass or layer.