Löwenzahn Eghosa, "Conversation" (2018), mixed media (all images courtesy of the artist and Signature African Art)
Renowned filmmaker and activist Ava DuVernay is partnering with Signature African Art to present a two-part exhibition of works by African artists addressing the black diaspora in Europe and America. Say My Name – a reference to #SayHerName, the 2014 movement to expand the names of black victims of police violence – opens in London in October and Los Angeles in February 2021 to mark Black History Month in the UK and US.
Ö40% benefit from the proceeds from the sale of the works DuVernay's Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) was launched this year to document stories of police abuse through various art forms, including film, literature, poetry, theater, dance, visual arts, and music.
Many of the paintings and sculptures in Say My Name will recognize both prominent black activists and black people who lost their lives to police brutality – from a portrait of civil rights activist Angela Davis by artist Dennis Osakue, who is known for his photorealistic depictions; to a nine panel ode to George Floyd by Nigerian artist Oluwole Omofemi was referring to the roughly nine minutes that ex-officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Floyd's neck.
Giggs Kgole, “Boshielo” (2020), collage of anaglyphs, oil, acrylic, fabric and mixed media on canvas
“Art is a disruptive and driving force. Creative expression is one of the most powerful tools we can use to activate and trigger change, ”DuVerney said in a statement accompanying the exhibition.
DuVerney, the first black woman to be nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Director and the first to win the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award, is known for numerous works exploring the past and present of racism in America. Your 2016 Documentary 13. plumbs the intertwined stories of slavery and mass imprisonment; When they see us, their latest Netflix miniseries exposes the false belief of a group of boys in color known as the "Central Park Five" in 1989.
Anthony Nsofor, “Your Smile Is Killing Me” (2020), Mixed Media
"We're excited that our artists have the platform to express their feelings and opinions," said Khalil Akar, Signature's African art director, who curates both iterations of the show.
"The exhibition covers a wide variety of topics, and to be honest, there are still so many stories and topics to address that we hope to see in our future shows," he added. "This is a wonderful opportunity to speak to African artists and connect issues emerging across the US, Europe and Africa."
The London exhibition includes works by the artists Samson Akinnire, Moufouli Bello, Löwenzahn Eghosa, Taiye Erewele, Giggs Kgole, Djakou Nathalie, Anthony Nsofor, Adjaratou Ouedraogo, Demola Ogunajo, Ayanfe Olarinde, Oluwole Omofemi, Dennis Osakue and Ejiro.
Say My Name opens at Signature African Art (20 Davies Street, Mayfair, London W1K 3DT) on October 27 and runs until November 28, 2020.