I’m still recovering from the 1:54 Art Fair fifth edition in London that happened just over a month ago. I don’t think i got to soak in all the fantastic works that were on display throughout the course of the 4 days, but i digress; this is not a 1:54 review, but since then, i hadn’t been to view new exhibitions – until now. I was made aware of the duo exhibition at Gallery Of African Art per the usual mode of communication – email – and with the recent development in my personal life, i was kept busy from attending the private viewing.
‘HER STORY: Sisterhood That Transcends‘, the name of this dynamic duo exhibition, has been on show since the 22nd of September and will continue on till the 23rd of November. GAFRA has, once again, brought out remarkable artists and, frankly, this is what is to be expected of GAFRA; nothing short of greatness is exhibited. “Who are the artists?” i hear you cry out! REWA, a brilliant emerging Nigerian artist, and Dagmar Van Weeghel, an established outstanding photographer.
I love women that love women and REWA is such a woman (Spoiler: So is Dagmar). This is evidenced in her strikingly gorgeous paintings of women she has encountered. Living between London, Lagos and Johannesburg, it is no wonder the women in her pieces are captivating; 3 large and vibrant cities to call home will certainly elicit this. REWA is a self-taught visual artist and works with acrylic paint and watercolours. Her latest body of work named ‘ONICHA ADO N’IDU’ is the recognition of the naming rites and traditions of Igbos’ in Nigeria. As an igbo woman myself, i am appreciative of what REWA does in keeping the igbo language at the forefront of her work. Be sure to check out her previous works on her site – they are truly mesmerising.
Apun’Anwu, 2017 by REWA
Nkiruka, 2017 by REWA
Ugonma, 2017 by REWA
Somadina, 2017 by REWA
The vivid colours used by REWA are enough to captivate your attention, so to add the striking facial structures and the piercing eyes (especially with Nkiruka), you will be left locked in a gaze. I typically have a favourite piece of work from every exhibition that i view but, this time, it was incredibly difficult to select one out of the all of REWA’s pieces.
Okedinachi (right) and Oluchi (left) are currently fighting for the spot of being my favourite; i don’t think they can be separated, however. Although REWA did not intend for them to be paired with one another – this was the work of the incredible curator at GAFRA – they both compliment each other very well.
Dagmar Van Weeghel*
I must confess, when i made my way to view this exhibition, i was prepared to love REWA’s work solely, purely for my implicit bias of her being Nigerian – forgive me, Dagmar. Her photography scalped me. Hailing from the Netherlands but with a focal view on the motherland, Africa, Dagmar captures the essence of African women.
Mombasa Blues, Uhuru, 2016 – Dagmar Van Weeghel
I am completely enamoured by the gorgeous woman in this shot. Dagmar’s work is overflowing with beauty and i am grateful for her endeavour to celebrate African women.
It would be an enormous failing to not set aside at least an hour to check out the sublime HER STORY exhibition at GAFRA. GAFRA is always free for viewings to the public and is situated at 45 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JL. The nearest tube station: Green Park.
*Dagmar’s previous work ‘For Sarah, the African Princess’ will be showcased at the Lagos Photo Festival this year, happening from November 24th – December 15th. This was a homage to Sarah Forbes Bonetta who was a Nigerian woman, sold into slavery and became the goddaughter of Queen Victoria. If you happen to be in Lagos during this period, be sure to go down for the festival. If you’re unlucky like me and wont be there, you’ll have to settle for the instagram pictures on Dagmar’s page – make sure to double tap.