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Virtual studio visits have become basic staples in an art world gone all-digital, but perhaps some of the most intriguing of these studio tours are still yet to be recorded. One of them would undoubtedly be with artist Jems Koko Bi. How enthralling would it be to see him engage in his habitual pre-sculpting dialogue with wood? Asking the wood, he is about to transform where it came from, querying the life stories inscribed deep inside the layers of striations.
“Ain’t I a Woman?” The question is attributed to Sojourner Truth and is thought to have punctuated the speech she delivered in 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Ohio (USA). In the powerful speech, the civil rights activist underlined women’s ability to stand on an equal footing with men. Since then, “Ain’t I a Woman?” has become a shorthand to castigate the feminist movement for turning a blind eye to the plight of black women and a rallying cry for black women’s rights movements and feminists worldwide.
In the liminal space between dreams and reality, present and future, Omar Ba paints a vision of a radically different future while formulating an acerbic critic of the present.
“I love colors. […] I really like bright colors,” professes Nigerian artist Williams Chechet. It is a long-running love story dating back to his childhood before his memory of such love was even formed. “My mum,” he continued, “told me I was really attracted to bright lights.” Forty years on, his artistic practice is a testament to his unwavering love of colors, but it is also about a lot more.
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