In the context of the International Women's Rights Day on March 8, OOA Gallery highlights 3 female artists passionate about the African continent: Marion Boehm, Olivia Mae Pendergast and Rewa.
Three visions, three techniques, three different styles but a common passion for this continent and for African women in particular.
Rewa was born and raised between Nigeria and England and received a BSc. in Physiology and Pharmacology from University College London (UCL). Never having received formal art training, she is self-taught and developed her innate talent from a very early age.
She finds that her spirit is moved by what she refers to as "depicted sentience" and through the celebration of the female form and bright, vivid colours. “My subject matter is woman, I celebrate her in many forms. I use traditional materials, ink, acrylic paints and brush on paper or on canvas, to capture an essence, making the paint assemble and the ink announce.” Rewa.
Rewa's hybrid upbringing greatly informs her work, and indeed perfectly depicts the sensation that is the modern ‘afropolitan’ woman. Forward thinking, progressive, uninhibited, and self-aware, yet still rooted, albeit loosely, in the expectations, duty and responsibility that tradition and ancient customs of the Igbo people of South-East Nigeria dictate.
REWA’s work was featured at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, New York, at the Zeitz MOCAA Museum, Cape Town, South Africa, at the Contemporary Art Centre New Orleans (CACNO), USA and at the Nigerian National Museum, Lagos, Nigeria.
OLIVIA MAE PENDERGAST
Olivia Mae Pendergast captures "ordinary" people in their "quotidian" activities and makes them enter our visual field with ease. She saw a taxi driver, a man seated on a chair, a mother with a child; she painted them, as she saw them, without pursuing seduction, neither from the model or the observer. The characters are painted from the front or in profile, without any particular pose, captured "as they are”.
The artist breaks down light and color into a sort of very balanced checkerboard dominated by shades of red which nevertheless show black people; the effect is very striking! This apparent simplicity conceals great creativity and the search for undetectable effects and the results are obvious, these paintings are beautiful and they move us.
Their share of mystery also tickles our imagination; who is this woman?; who is this boy and even this tuk-tuk driver posing proudly in front of his vehicle? Each one carries their share of shadow, in a work which does not precisely include any. All the poetry of her work emerges in this way, with great subtlety. And you feel its charm and sweetness at the same time as its force, not an aggressive, invasive, obvious force, but one of those forces which start from the bottom of the soul and can overturn worlds.
A renowned artist with multiple distinctions since 1999, Olivia Mae Pendergast has also exhibited on three continents (America, Asia, Africa), in thirty exhibitions, with equal success and her works are in several important collections, including that of the Kenyan president.
Initially creating mixed-media collages from the black and white photographs that she took of the locals by altering the portraits with pencil, charcoal, pastels, paint and bits of torn paper, before long Marion Boehm was adding fabric and found objects to make her portrayals even more elaborate, and thus more lifelike. She then began to use photos of people from the colonial era and portraits from contemporary times to blur the line between the past and the present.
Marion Boehm’s desire is to nobly depict her black subjects in the manner that Europeans have been historically portrayed. Not unlike the African American painter Kehinde Wiley, she casts her characters in a manner that’s intended to change the existing canon.
She has portrayed artists whom she admires—such as Serge Attukwei Clottey, Saidou Diko, Evans Mbugua and Barthélemy Toguo—as royals, dandies and chiefs, but more often it’s women—seen from a feminist, ennobling point of view—that occupy center stage in her captivating series of portraits.
Constructing a new way of seeing African women, Marion Boehm aims at the unexpected, rather than at being historically or ethnographically correct. Like an Afrofuturist, she shows us what tomorrow might be or how things might have been if colonialism and apartheid had never happened and racism didn’t exist.
Marion Boehm ́s work has been collected internationally. Her artwork was presented during shows and art fairs in South Africa, Germany, France, UK, Lithuania, Morocco, Portugal, Luxemburg, Switzerland, USA.
OOA Gallery | Barcelona
Artsy Online Show
1 - 28 March 2021