Gallery of African Art London presents HER STORY: Sisterhood That Transcends. From 22nd September until 21st of October, the Mayfair gallery will be showcasing the art works of Nigerian artist REWA and photographer Dagmar Van Weeghel.
While listening to a podcast yesterday Oprah asked a very interesting question that does not seem to go away. “What is the new role of women?” referring to the role of women in the modern world. This exhibition comes right in time to shed some light to this.
It’s been often said that in times of uncertainty that the arts have a key role to play. Perhaps to lead discussions on controversial themes or to stir people’s consciousness? The role of women and gender equality are relevant and GAFRA is bringing them to centre stage in this new showcase.
Artists REWA and Dagmar Van Weeghel are exploring female identity in “HER STORY: Sisterhood That Transcends”. Her story (that of a woman) includes roles women play i.e. mother, sister, daughter, friend, lover. There is a connection that all women share which binds them together – Sisterhood. Through “Her Story”, the current exhibition seeks to celebrate and uplift womanhood.
“All women play a part in a ‘Sisterhood that Transcends.'”
This is exciting to read and we’re even more excited to see the show on Thursday. Each artwork that will be shown, has a unique story and representation. REWA will be displaying her new body of work titled: ONICHA ADO N’IDU (Naming Rites & Traditions of the Igbos of Nigeria).
REWA is a self-taught visual artist. From an early age, she was encouraged to experience and appreciate art. She grew up in London where she started her professional career. Travelling widely, she now calls London, Lagos and Johannesburg home. Each of these cities has played a role in her artistic practice – fortifying her and emotionally challenging her life perspectives.
REWA tells Gallery of African Art that her works are not necessarily portraiture. She comments “My spirit is neither moved by landscapes, nor by still-life or portraiture, but rather by what I refer to as “depicted sentience” through the celebration of the female form in bright, vivid colours.”
Through ONICHA ADO N’IDU , REWA celebrates the women in her culture. She pays homage to the relevance of “naming rites” and how they shape and create a path for the individual. The objective is to help the viewer to identify a certain part of “her women” within themselves.
REWA says it best: “My subject matter is WOMAN – I celebrate her in her many forms. I use traditional materials: ink, acrylic paints and brush on cartridge paper to capture an essence — making the paint assemble and the ink announce. I want my audience, whether male or female, to look at one of my women and be able to identify with her story and the meaning behind her name. I want her to represent a message, a memory, a story or a prayer for the viewer.”
For Dagmar Van Weeghel, creating a narrative is an essential element of her photography. African women play a central role in her compositions. Major themes explored by Van Weeghel’s works include identity and African
women’s migration within the diaspora. She also delves deeply into the subjects of cultural assimilation, exotification, racism and sisterhood.
Her portraits are beautiful and ethereal, the story behind them intriguing. Each work takes the viewer on a journey, exploring the women depicted in the stories they tell, captured through the eyes of the artist. The relationship between the women and Van Weeghel is symbiotic.
A bond of sisterhood is formed – a union that transcends race and class, one that creates a “safe space” for stories to come forth and be shared. Van Weeghel says: “I tell stories that advocate for the strength of people, especially for women and girls. I seek to offer another perspective on the way people see the world, and each other, through the stories I tell visually.”
Private View: Thursday, 21st September, 2017 | 6 – 8:30pm
Exhibition: 22nd September – 28th October 2017
Artist Talk: Saturday, 23rd September 2017 | 2-4pm
Opening times: Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm and Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) 45 Albemarle Street London W1S 4JL
Nearest Underground Station: Green Park (Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines)