HOFA Gallery and ADA contemporary art gallery (Accra, Ghana) have joined forces to premiere an all-female group exhibition, Mother of Mankind, showcasing an international selection of 16 emerging artists. The show is the first of its kind to be showcased by both galleries and will be curated by Adora Mba, Founder of ADA\ contemporary art gallery.
Mother of Mankind sheds light on a new generation of rising artists whose work challenges and deconstructs art historical canons of representation – recurring motives which often marginalize and obliterate Black figures, and in particular, the Black female figure. Award-winning artists such as Emma Prempeh and Jamilla Okubo will appear alongside 14 other headline artists hailing from Nigeria, Canada, UK, South Africa, Ghana, US and France. The artists share a bold figurative approach and a courageous, spirited embrace of mixed media that make the show a spectacular display of colours, lighting contrasts, and styles of portraiture that range from classic, austere, and prestigious to surreal, sensual, and playful.
MUOFHE MANAVHELA, WOMAN WITH PEARLS RESTING, 2021
MUOFHE MANAVHELA, AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY SHE RESTED, 2021
MUOFHE MANAVHELA, BEAUTY POSTER FOR THE MODERN DAY BLACK WOMAN, 2021
AYOBOLA KEKERE-EKUN, MEMORY BANK ERROR II, 2021
Ayobola’s work often explores subjects connected to gender, mythology, power and the human condition in a multi-layered way; creating work through a labour-intensive process. Her work is heavily informed by personal experiences and observations. She is particularly interested in exploring the subtle interplay of time, space, gender, power and social structures in contemporary society.
Ayobola works predominantly with a technique known as quilling, in which strips of paper are individually shaped to create forms. She tends to quill with a variety of materials that respond well to the technique; including ribbon and strips of canvas. She constantly experiments with new ways of exploring materials and their capabilities. Ayobola views the intricacy of her work as a visual metaphor of the complexity of the subject matter she engages with.
0MARCELLINA AKPOJOTOR, SET TO FLOURISH I, 2021
0MARCELLINA AKPOJOTOR, SET TO FLOURISH II, 2021
CINTHIA SIFA MULANGA
TOBI ALEXANDRA FALADE
CINTHIA SIFA MULANGA, THE LIBRARY, 2021
Artist Emma Prempeh (b.1996, London) is a British, Ghanaian and Vincentian fine art graduate from Goldsmiths University (graduating in 2019) and winner of the Alumno/SPACE Studio Bursary award for 2020. She is currently attending an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art under the LeverHulme Trust Arts Scholarship.
In 2019 she was announced winner of The Ingram Young Contemporary Talent Purchase Prize and shortlisted for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries, becoming a participant in their touring exhibition with her video work ‘Time’ at Leeds Art Gallery and the South London Gallery. In 2020 she exhibited two solo shows ‘Raise Your Glass’ at The Light Box, Woking and ‘The Faces of Love’, Vo Curations, Marylebone, London.
Family and generational continuity is often the subject of Prempeh’s paintings, as relational ties are explored and questioned, through the depiction of her mother and grandmother and their experiences. The search of spirituality enables Prempeh to analyse existential questions that are projected upon her reality; the fear of death, memory, ancestral ties.
EMMA PREMPEH, UNKNOWING: NANABAA, 2021
CHINAZA AGBOR, SERENA, 2021
SOPHIA OSHODIN, THREE GRACES, 2021
SOPHIA OSHODIN, DAYDREAMING, 2021
SOPHIA OSHODIN, WHILE WE WAIT, 2021
“My work celebrates humans, connecting the complexity of ordinary everyday life with human engagement and feelings moving from one place to another with strength and resilience. There is profoundness in capturing the connection humans make with objects through thoughts and emotions. In my work, I feature a reoccurring iconography such as flowers, books with an abstracted background.”
– Sophia Oshodin, Artist
TOBI ALEXANDRA FALADE, SHADOW, 2021
TOBI ALEXANDRA FALADE, WHAT’S BETTER THAN THE OTHER, 2021
CECE PHILLIPS, SPECTATORS, 2021
“Recurring themes run through my paintings – identity, femininity, and Black history. My degree in History strongly informs my artistic practice, shaping the way I research and construct pieces rooted in the intimate lives and narratives of others. Placing my work in the intersection between real and imagined, I often use archival writings and found historical photographs to inspire the figures I paint. My current body of work explores in the relationships between women and power, thinking about how expressions of authority and influence have historically been depicted through cultural signifiers and body language, and how this can be flipped.”
– Cece Philips, Artist
BRIA FERNANDES, FOR A MOMENT THERE, 2021
BRIA FERNANDES, WHY DO SHADOWS FALL BUT NEVER LEAVE, 2021
Ekene Emeka-Maduka is a Nigerian artist currently living and working in Canada. Ekene’s practice is an on going study of the “self”. Maduka makes work that combines lived and formulated events relating to notions of displacement, self-representation and reconstructing identity.
In her work, she aims to share a specific narrative that addresses Blackness, culture, her Nigerian heritage and femininity from a more personal viewpoint as supposed to asserting general statements regarding these topics.
In addressing femininity in her work, Maduka reclaims the gaze that the well-known 19th century Odalisque shies away from holding with her viewers. For her, having the subjects of her paintings hold eye contact with the viewer creates a balance of power and humanizes the subject as such, which is a reoccurring theme.
EKENE MADUKA, 4:45AM ARUMORU , 2021
EKENE MADUKA, THE PERVERSE GESTURE: NWOYE’S RELEASE WITH UBE IN MOUTH, 2021
Dimakatso Mathopa (b. 1995 in Mpumalanga) lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mathopa’s interest in printmaking techniques such as Van Dyke Brown and silkscreen led to her discovery of the Cyanotype process, an old photographic printing process that produces monochrome cyan-blue prints. Mathopa has been transforming her concept- photographs into cyanotype prints and began her recent ongoing series, Individual Beings Relocated.
Mathopa’s work looks at the representations of black women in a colonial context and explores how the colonial gaze has been subverting their portrayal. The depictions of black subjects throughout history have been instrumental in building the present stereotypes that stand out vividly in the representations of black women in South Africa today.
The ongoing series Individual Beings Relocated aims to deconstruct and reconstruct how colonialism has historically shaped the representations of a black woman. Photographing herself in a ‘colonial space’, performing the role of the ‘black subject’ using her semi-naked body and transforming the photographic images into cyanotype prints allow her to redeem her own personal narratives and tell the stories of these Individual beings relocated.
DIMAKATSO AUGUSTINE MATHOPA, INDIVIDUAL BEINGS RELOCATED X, 2017
DAMILOLA MARCUS, HOMEGIRLS I, 2021
DAMILOLA MARCUS, HOMEGIRLS II, 2021
Moving the dialogue away from a normative femininity, Mother of Mankind places the frame on the specific Black experience, by showcasing artists whose construct of femininity is conceptualized in its application to women from Africa and its diaspora. The participating artists consciously reject and redefine traditional standards of beauty, perception and representation – thereby reclaiming ownership over their narrative and elevating a Black female consciousness and identity.
“My creative expression was influenced by my desire to be visible in the art word. Growing up I felt representation of black people in art, failed to encompass all aspects of their lives. To remedy that I attempt to illustrated the black experience from my memories and events that occur near me.”
– Mookho Ntho, Artist
MOOKHO NTHO, UNDER THE DRYER II, 2021
MOOKHO NTHO, UNDER THE DRYER II, 2021
Sola Olulode’s dreamy queer visions explore embodiments of British Black Womxn and Non-Binary Folx. Working with various mediums of natural dyeing, batik, wax, ink, pastel, oil bar, and impasto she develops textural canvases that explore the fluidities of identities. Drawing inspiration from lived experience, friends, and cultural reference points to centre Black Queer Womxn, Olulode emphasizes the integral need of representation and celebration of queer intimacies.
Her utopian scenes celebrate relationships that transcend crude notions of queer sexuality. Her figures exemplify the warm embrace of queer love, a temporal space to bathe in memories of intimacies abundant with scenes of profoundly deep tender connections. Envisaging a world reflective of the celebration of her own identities Olulode brings to life representation and visibility of Black Queer lived experiences. Her figures represent multifaceted complex individuals and the energy they hold in their bodies relishing in a boundless temporality of self-validation and joy.
SOLA OLULODE, EVERY NIGHT WE FALL DEEPER, 2021
SOLA OLULODE, EVERYDAY GETS HOTTER THAN THE ONE BEFORE, 2021