“A real artist combines her good character and her beauty. It’s a package.” Mimi Shodeinde
Last week on Thursday 8th Dec, The Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) showcased their last exhibition of the year showing the works of Nigerian artist-designer, Mimi Shodeinde, and Angolan artist Imanni Da Silva.
This exhibition was particularly close to my heart as Mimi is a friend of mine as well as an artist and designer that I throughly respect. I had been a spectator and supporter throughout her process in prep for this show so I was looking forward to seeing her first ever exhibition and in particular her furniture instillation works. I was not disappointed.
The artworks presented in the exhibition are from Mimi’s Iwa series - which means “character” in Yoruba. The featured works explore the relationship between the psyche and power of the African woman through mixed–media portraiture and furniture. Using a combination of a somber colour palette and dark symbolism, Mimi creates harmony between the physiology and psychology of the female form. Her pieces are adorned with streaks of gold to signify light and strength, against a backdrop of a seemingly solemn silhouette.
The curves of the female body in each painting are mirrored perfectly in the furniture on display: two variations of Mimi’s Iman Lounger - one in a champagne stingray leather (obviously my favourite, so luxurious!) and one in plexi-glass. The materials employed in the furniture speak directly to a woman’s strength (leather) and vulnerability (plexi-glass).
The works of Mimi Shodeinde
“My job is to make people dream while they’re awake, and that is art’s main purpose.” - Imanni Da Silva
Immani is an artist I am unfamiliar with however I did like her piece 'The Party is Over'. Marked by touches of pop art, surrealism, Illustration and the abstract, Imanni’s works emphasise femininity's rich beauty and embrace glamour, luxury and sophistication. A perfect synergy of colour and opulence, she is strongly influenced by bold, bright and luxuriously rich colours, and she holds a great love for fashion and textiles. These influences are visible in her artworks.
Both artists will be displaying their works at GAFRA from 8th December 2016 – 21st January 2017
Gallery of African Art (GAFRA)
45 Albemarle Street
Tel: 0207 287 7400