(RE)POSE at Galerie Ron Mandos in Amsterdam

Eniwaye Oluwaseyi  Foreigner on A Familiar Land, 2021. Oil on canvas  151 x 143½ cms

An exhibition curated by Azu Nwagbogu (Director of the African Artists’ Foundation).

The exhibition is an exploration of figurative painting by WonderBuhle (South Africa) and Eniwaye Oluwaseyi (Nigeria), contemporary artists that offer sated states and familial histories as a form of portraiture and protest towards forms of oppression and representation of Black bodies throughout contemporary histories.

(Re)Pose is a multi-layered exhibition. The word itself is defined variously as a form of rest or being in a state of calm, yet it could also mean to be situated in a particular place. How is this meaning reflected in contemporary painting about Black identity?

(Re)Pose examines portraits that repudiate prejudicial archetypes of Black people portrayed as labourers, slaves, criminals, workers, athletes, martyrs and heroes. Recently, images of violence against Black bodies have become hyper-visible in mainstream media, where they are used as symbols to rally activism for racial justice. The artists’ rejection of racist archetypes which serve consumerist visual and material culture, opposes normalising the perception of Black identity as being in a constant existential struggle, a fight for visibility, survival and perpetual victimhood.

Re(Pose) explores how portraiture of Black subjects goes beyond representation towards a radical form of activism. Here the subjects are not celebrities, superstars or famous personalities. Instead, they are relatives, friends and associates – new focus that forms part of the Black archive of experience.  The works by WonderBuhle and Eniwaye Oluwaseyi are not about “Black Excellence” or “Black Misery”. These artists do not feel the need to represent these extremes. They are interested in their normative existence where a common humanity resides.

The exhibition continues until 3rd April