Tiwani Contemporary: Phoebe Boswell

*Warning: Content will consist of nudity*

I recall asking the people of Twitter for their favourite galleries and museums and, from the names thrown in my mentions, I planned on rummaging through to find ones that weren’t “mainstream”. My fabulous friend, Emeke (I mention him a lot, don’t I?), mentioned this great space – Tiwani Contemporary Gallery.  Tiwani Contemporary, founded in 2011, seeks to work with upcoming as well as already established contemporary artists with their focus mainly on Africa and the Diaspora. Their past exhibitions consists of outstanding works of art and this is clearly a continuous streak with the current exhibition they have running.

Phoebe Boswell’s For Every Real Word Spoken, a solo exhibition, is the current outstanding work that Tiwani has been fortunate enough to display in their space. Boswell, a Kenyan born and London living artist, is known for, as Tiwani put it, “combining traditional draftswomanship and digital technology to create drawings, animations and installations”. In other words, she’s a real gem! Her current work consists of nude pencil portraits of women (that she knows) who stand holding phones to their chests with the device screen faced towards the viewers. What i think is brilliant about her work is, not just the intricate details in the drawing like the hairs on the women, but the fact that the phone has a hand-drawn QR bar code and when scanned by the viewers, it links to an online article, videos, image e.t.c. chosen by the women Boswell drew.

Boswell relinquished some power back into the models as they have control over what the QR code links to and they are able to change it as often as they please; to anything they please that mean something to them. Below are a few drawings and what popped up when i scanned their QR codes: (Click the names below each photo to view the videos)

Some other sleeper, 2017

Pieces of a (Wo)man, 2017

Is that a…?(creature of Myth), 2017

Boswell’s work makes a statement, to me, by asserting that our trans-sisters are women and not to be othered when speaking about women collectively. So thank you for this, Phoebe Boswell.

My favourite work at the exhibition:

Standing Tall, 2017


Boswell, as a part of her exhibition, listed names of women who inspire her as well as names of women that inspire the women that inspire her, and she penciled the names on the wall at Tiwani Contemporary. I had no idea that she would be at the gallery as i went to visit, so i was fortunate enough to converse with her about the names of the women mentioned and the women on display.

So many amazing women that may have been forgotten and ought to be remembered, women who have played a significant role in history. And so many women who continue to break barriers and set out to do phenomenal things. Upon conversing with Boswell about the women listed, women that also inspire me, she was so kind enough to put me, my name, on the wall amongst these phenomenal women.

So, when you go in to see her tremendous art work, you’ll find my name situated in a little corner on the wall. Sitting with names of women like: Maya Angelou, Taiye Selassi, Beyonce, Michaela Coel of Chewing Gum series… The list is literally endless. Thank you, Phoebe.

Boswell’s For Every Real Word Spoken exhibition will be displayed at Tiwani till the 22nd of April 2017, so i implore you all to visit Tiwani and view Boswell’s beautiful work.

Tiwani Contemporary Gallery
16 Little Portland Street, London W1W 8BP

4 thoughts on “Tiwani Contemporary: Phoebe Boswell

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