Joana Choumali at dawn24/08/2019 - 05/10/2019
How Do You Spell A Silent Sound
Gallery 1957 (Accra) is holding presently a solo exhibition by the award-winning Ivorian photographer and mixed media artist Joana Choumali, running until 5 October 2019.
Presenting new and recent works which blend photography with collage and embroidery, the exhibition includes works from the series Ça Va Aller, Translation, and Alba’hian. It features also works inspired by the artist’s early-morning explorations of Accra in the summer of 2019; marking a departure for the artist, this latest body of work sees the artist working on a larger scale (up to 2m x 1m), for the first time.
” The morning light has a symbolic value of rediscovery and illumination in almost every culture. It’s the vital energy that is born again, renovated any new day – the hope of a new beginning. As the morning light slowly reveals each detail of the material world, so this practice of observation allows Choumali to assert a personal shift in thoughts and perceptions…Joana’s work is made of the same substance memories and dreams are made of: impalpable and barely perceptible images that overlap one another, mixed with ancient suggestions and recent sensations.”Curator Maria Pia BernardonI
Choumali is known particularly for her photography work, including the critically-lauded series Hââbré/The Last Generation documenting portraits of a “last generation” of scarified Burkinabè men and women living in Abidjan, as well as individuals from Niger, Nigeria, and Benin.
Following the 13 March 2016 terrorist attacks in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, Choumali instinctively turned to embroidery as a way to process the trauma of the event. Rather than dismiss her feelings with the favored Ivorian maxim “Ça va aller” (“It will be OK”), she chose to explore them via the gesture of slowly stitching, sometimes over several months. Richly worked, they reflect not only the artist’s physical touch, but also her emotional evolution as she used this new way of art making to both process this moment of national grief, and face challenges in her personal life. In the artist’s words, discovering embroidery “opened a new gate in my life,” through which she was free to be sensitive, to speak the unspoken, and to connect with others on a human level.
The Gallery1957 also participates in the 2019 edition of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art fair in London (3-6 October 2019).