'The Dream is indispensable as a structuring element of the collective and individual imagination'. – Djibril Samb
Colours of my dream is an exhibition which brings together five artists of African heritage: Amina Benbouchta, M'barek Bouhchichi, Ekene Emeka-Maduka, Longinos Nagila, and Alexis Peskine. Displayed in the show are pieces encompassing works on paper, paintings, sculptures, installations created these last two years and new commissions.
L'Interprétation des Rêves en Afrique Noire (Prix Noma 1999) by Senegalese philosopher Djibril Samb is the starting point of this show's curatorial line. Samb contends that while western interpretation of dreams often falls within the individual's realm, dreams can hold other meanings. In Colours of my Dream, artists weave their universe, making us discover a world which combines an array of images. The exhibition seeks to establish an open vision on present day creations by artists from Africa and its Diaspora, expand the field of knowledge by gathering different perspectives and experiences, and challenge dubious or monolithic ordinary views on contemporary African art. Dreams thus become a gateway to escape the limiting confines of narrow perspectives.
The five showcased artists engage with various styles, viewpoints and techniques, using symbolic prisms to explore dreams and adopt a larger framework in a shared and collective space. The nexus between these artists is less about their aesthetics than in their shared interest in establishing a distinctive voice. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves into a constellation of visual dreams.
Longinos Nagila is a Nairobi-based artist who experiments with optics and perspective by exploring the relationship between surfaces and shapes. His works on paper are multi-vocal and never seem to convey the same picture to every viewer. By challenging the viewer's perception, Nagila's works invite his audience to question the hierarchy of standpoints.
Foregrounding an interest in self-portraiture, Ekene Emeka-Maduka's paintings are based upon her recollection of lived and imagined experiences. Recurrent themes in her body of work involve investigating the 'self' and the impact cultural, social and political exposures have on identity.
Amina Benbouchta's practice deals with the notion of time and involves incorporating floating and static elements in a range of media. Her repertoire of motifs draws from domestic life and explores the social dynamics around the home, family and childhood, or how our society functions
M'barek Bouhchichi's art engages with the concept of space and borders between North and Sub-Saharan Africa and is imbued with poetic exchanges rooted in the idea of sharing. He incorporates symbols of traditional Berber art whose principal axiom is the individual within the community.
Alexis Peskine brings his three-dimensional creations to life by using a technique he coined 'acu-painting.' His dignified nail-works, painted with gold leaf and pierced on coffee-stained wood, offer a space of healing and reflection in the face of contemporary violence committed against people of colour.
Colours of my Dream is a rich contemporary artistic cartography which expands the field of knowledge on contemporary creations by artists of African heritage and revisits significant African literature and philosophy.
'The dream is by nature a refuge of freedom.' – Djibril Samb
Press release courtesy Fabienne Levy.
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