MAKE A DATE WITH ZOHRA OPOKU: INFO BY ARTIST

Dear all,I will contribute to BUT HE DOESN’ T HAVE ANYTHING ON! todays opening group show at Commune.1 / Cape Town running until Jan 21th 2016.

Other participating artists are Dominique Edwards, Rory Emmett, Susan Greenspan, Bonolo Illinois Kavula, Olivié Keck, Namsa Leuba, Troy Makaza, Siwaphiwe Mgoboza, Simphiwe Ndzube, Thabo Pitso, David Southwood and Lauren Webber.

I am showing screen prints, which I developed during my fellowship program in the Kala Art Institute / Berkeley (CA).

Wisteria, 2015

While learning this year about the bay area, my research turned its focus on the diversity of the plants. I find it fascinating that there is a huge variety of non-native plants from different climates, brought there and growing in so-called plant communities such as dunes, grasslands and forests. To follow up on my portrait series TEXTURES, I am interested in what is hidden behind an image, disguise and nature are playing again a major role in this work.

Spending a lot of time by myself and contemplating the genre of portraiture, I decided to work in a camouflage self-portrait process. It came to me like a solution at this time; and developed into a therapeutic conversation between the I and ME of which my ego seeks to achieve my self-reflexive identity. Working in this self-portrait process leads me to engage with plants in the bay, which fascinated and inspired me to be like them, making myself a home. By draping myself into them and becoming invisible at the same time allows me to the state of an absolute comfort zone.

I am delighted, that the group exhibition MATERIAL EFFECTS curated by Yesomi Umolu just opened its doors. It will be on view until April 3rd 2016 at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum / Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Other Artists featured in the exhibition include Bernard Akoi-Jackson, Jelili Atiku, Ibrahim Mahama, Antje Majewski, Issa Samb and Otobong Nkanga.

I only realised in the year 2014 that I have a history of employing methodologies of disguise in my work. The series TEXTURES is unintentionally carrying references of the traditional West-African masquerade, the use of masks is a clear representation of concealment of the whole human body. During my artist residency at Jan van Eyck / Maastricht(NL) in 2014 I started to carve body masks in my own style. Looking at ways of bearing the mask; a double directional metaphor of my thorough transformation is taking place: indulging the supernatural forces, which I wish to amplify and at the same time allow myself to be transformed by them.

I have three masks on view beside video works.

My Father, 2015
I built this mask from old parts of furniture, which I collected from my mother’s compound. It is a very important mask for me. It is a mask about love. I dedicate it to my grandfather.The artwork involves improvisations I explore depending on information I have personally gathered and what I learned from my grandfather.
I admired his practicality and creativity; he would create something useful for his farm or fix something in the house. Come to think of it, he was constantly busy and I was busy sticking to his side. To build this mask after his death, I get to conceptualize a spiritual medium, which connects me to him again. I didn’t really think about how it could turn out. I just wanted to use his skills in my creative processes. If he were still alive, he would wonder what the use of this structure was. I would tell him I just wanted to be camouflaged to appear as a child again. I know he would smile.

A result of a conversation with Katharina Fink (Researcher) and Emeka Alams(Designer) is the textile installation Fallen a fragmented angel now on view at the group show FUTURE AFRICA: VISIONS IN TIME at theIwalewa Haus/ Bayreuth(DE) which runs until Feb 28th 2016.

Fallen, 2015
Quotes from the booklet by Katharina Fink:
“…Fashion and dress are aesthetic experiments of time-travel for me. And both artists, Zohra Opoku and Emeka Alams, are masters of this aesthetically driven travels. Particularly one paragraph by Emeka Alams caught my attention. Filed under the pages “history” on his homepage, he writes:
“Present: The trade has changed our world and reshaped our thoughts. Living by false standards we have forgotten what makes us truly rich and unique. Here, we strive for all things associated with the mind-frame of those who began this trade.
Formerly: We would gather in large numbers to mourn with those who mourn and to rejoice with those who rejoice. We have forgotten that we came from a place where guiding, correcting and rebuking is everyone’s task; a place with green forests, clean rivers and natural resources about. It was love … Still you don’t understand.”
…to see it come together as an artistic, ephemeral sculpture dangling in the black dome in the entry of Iwalewahaus, as a prelude and first act of the exhibition “FAVT: Future Africa Visions in Time” is an uplifting experience. The FAVT-exhibition and the dialogues of art and academic debate it is based on, took shape in a time in which the concept of “future” was mobilized more often than before. Facing the movement of refugees to the Northern states of Europe, particularly to Germany, words like those cited by Walter Benjamin are mobilized: a ‘storm’, ‘waves’ and ‘streams’ are metaphors chosen by media agents to stimulate mental images of the ‘other’.”—

I am also included in these compelling exhibitions running for a sweet while:

REMEMBER TO COME HOME..
A group Show with ruby onyinyechi amanze, Clay Apenouvon, Mwangi Hutter and Délio Jasse until Dec 23rd 2015 at MARIANE IBRAHIM Gallery, Seattle.

MAKING AFRICA, a travelling Group Show curated by Amelie Klein and Okwui Enwezor, Shown until Feb 21st 2016 at Guggenheim Bilbao.

I hope you can catch one of these shows.

At last I want to draw your attention to this:
In June this year the Foundation for Contemporary Art-Ghana (FCA-Ghana) lost a section of our office building and library with the floods in Accra. We have launched a campaign for financial and professional support to rebuild our project space and library. With your support, FCA can continue to empower artists and develop a critical forum for the promotion of contemporary art in Ghana. Do spread and share the word.

Please visit these sites for more information:

www.fcaghana.org
http://donate.fcaghana.org/

Thank you. Enjoy the last moments of 2015.

Be well!
Zohra

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Author: Kwame 'Write' Aidoo

Kwame Aidoo, also known as Write is a fond reader, writer and lover of music and the arts, with a degree in Biochemistry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Tech., Kumasi and a certificate in Cultural Organizations in Transition from University of Lüneburg. He founded the creative activism movement: Inkfluent which curates Slam Ghana, The Write Experience, Vocal Portraits poetry albums, Slam Lab and the biggest literary festival in Ghana; Nkabom Literary Festival. Aside Ghana, where he is based, he has shown work in Brazil, Togo, Austria, France, Benin, Germany and Burkina Faso and most recently Norway with Aurora Ekvatorialis; a light sculpture and texts collaboration with Norwegian artist Toril Johannessen, exhibiting at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, 16.9.2016 – 15.1.2017.

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