The ongoing show at Magnan Metz Gallery is almost overwhelming and needs to be taken in doses. The show, curated by Awam Amkpa, is nothing if not vibrant – a collage of artistic endeavors that collectively tell the story of artists embracing African structures, patterns, and rhythms to produce a sense of place and identity.
The group show features nine contemporary artists – Olu Amoda, Omar Victor Diop, Victor Ehikhamenor, Angele Essamba, Taiye Idahor, Maїmouna Guerresi, Bartelemy Toguo, Lina Viktor and Deb Willis. Each bring their unique interpretation of traditional forms translated into the contemporary, showcasing some really awesome pieces.
Take Omar Victor Diop’s stunning photography, which ranges from tweaking ancient portraits to re-define the role of historical black figures in a vibrant new way, tackling hero worship and exercises in vanity and the role race plays in these memes. I almost would prefer to see his pieces sitting in the louvre, amongst the portraits of Ribera, Delacroix, and Rembrandt.
Another one of my favorite artists in this group show is Olu Amoda, a Nigerian sculptor who weaves masterpieces from scrap metal and industrial trash he collects. His piece Sergeant Amusa is stunning and larger than life, despite its small stature, inspired by Wole Soyinka’s play “Death and the King’s Horseman,” wherein the Sergeant is torn between following his own tradition and culture and following the demands of his superior officer.
Check out an overview of the show and the press release here.
“Lines, Motions and Ritual” runs through August 18th.