JOANA CHOUMALI: HAABRÉ
PRIVATE VIEW: Thursday 25th February 2016 from 6pm - 8:30pm
EXHIBITION: Friday, 26th February - Saturday, 2nd April 2016
TALK: Saturday 27th February 2016 3.30pm (RSVP)
Joana Choumali, M. Salbre D, 2014, 80/60 cm. Cprint
50 GOLBORNE in collaboration with LAGOSPHOTO are delighted to introduce Joana Choumali ‘s work for the first time in the UK with the exhibition: JOANA CHOUMALI: HAABRE
Joana Choumali, born in 1974 trained in Graphic Arts and Photography in Casablanca (Morocco) and is now based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. She works on documentary, mixed media and photography. In 2014, she was the winner of the Lensculture Emerging Talent Award and in the same year was awarded the POPCAP’ Piclet Prize for Africa.
Hââbré is the word for ‘writing’ and ‘scarification’ in Kô language from Burkina Faso. Joana Chomali uses studio portraiture with the same background and lighting to map the last generation of people wearing scarifications in the city of Abidjan. She photographs the faces and the unexpectedly expressive upper backs of each sitter.
The practice of scarification is disappearing fast in West Africa due to the pressure of religious and state authorities, urban practices and the introduction of Western clothing in tribes. This last generation of people bearing the imprint of the past on their faces, went from being the norm and having a high social value to being somewhat “excluded”.
In the series, Joana Choumali questions the link between past and present in contemporary Africa and self-image depending on a given environment. Referencing ethnographic portraiture, the artist further plays with the gaze of the viewer, who somewhat uncomfortably is asked to examine her sitters in the same scientific way; beyond the scars that are the common point between the faces of the models, the unique personalities and possibly life experiences of each sitter surges out of the frame to meet us frontally, making it an intriguing and poignant encounter.
Joana Choumali last exhibited at various venues including Grid Cape Town Biennial, POPCAP’14 (Vienna), LensCulture (Barcelona), Barrobjectif (Charentes, France) and Image Afrique (Basel) to name a few.
50Golborne, one of London’s newest galleries, its mission is to investigate the convergence between art, design and craft with a special interest in Africa and the African Diaspora, which the gallery aims to explore within an international context.
Launched in 2010, LagosPhoto is the first and only international arts festival of photography in Nigeria. LagosPhoto aims to establish a community for contemporary photography, which will unite local and international artists through images that encapsulate individual experiences and identities from across all of Africa.
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Joana Choumali, M. Salbre, 2014, 80/60 cm. Cprint