Njideka Akunyili & Simone Leigh: I Always Face You, Even When It Seems Otherwise

12 October - 15 December 2013

Tiwani Contemporary presents I Always Face You, Even When It Seems Otherwise, featuring the work of US-based Nigerian artist Njideka Akunyili and American artist Simone Leigh. The exhibition is curated by Bisi Silva, Director of CCA, Lagos, and its title is inspired by a 2012 work by Njideka Akunyili. The artists will present new works in painting, ceramics and sculptural installation. The pieces further their respective explorations and engagement with ideas including 'contact zones', language and lived experience, as well as a focus on process and materiality.

Njideka Akunyili creates collages of drawing, painting and printmaking, with references to and influences from literature, art history and popular culture. Her works are intricate narratives of personal and professional encounters, which she considers important 'contact zones' in her exploration of new visual languages. Her new large-scale paintings depict children, focussing on the sartorial aspect of portraiture to highlight the way in which an individual is presented and viewed through their choice of dress.

Simone Leigh works in ceramics, sculpture, video and performance art. She will present new ceramic installations that emphasise her interest in collapsing the boundaries between 'high art' and craft. Borrowing from traditional African pottery techniques, she infuses her ceramic objects with a contemporary aesthetic. Leigh's critically acclaimed cowrie shells cast from hollowed-out watermelons synchronise symbolic objects of an African past with a diasporic present. The cowrie shells are given new meanings outside their use as a form of monetary exchange, while the use of watermelons points to their historical significance as discriminatory symbols.

An accompanying publication, Njideka Akunyili & Simone Leigh: I Always Face You, Even When It Seems Otherwise, is available for purchase through the gallery. More information here.