Rushdi Anwar, Conversation Piece #6
A small town, north-east of Mosul, Bashiqa was once known for its onion pickles and olive trees. With a population spanning Kurdish Yazidi, Shabak, Assyrian and Arab Muslim, there are records of a diverse community at the site from the 13th century; undoubtedly, Bashiqa’s history stretches back further still, and it remained a tourist destination for Iraqis into the 21st century.
One might say that Yoruba is among the most powerful answers to the legacies of European empire. As the history of empire coalesced the world around a few European languages and the Judeo Christian religions, the potency and charisma of Yoruba beliefs, hermeneutics, aesthetics and theology has sustained its hold upon people across the African diaspora. And continues to grow. Wole Languju’s striking portraits are a testimony to this.
By Abe Odedina
There are two women in Edouard Manet's infamous Olympia. We know a lot about one; reclining, pert and centre stage, is Victorine Meurent. As for the second woman, a servant standing behind Meurent/Olympia to present her with flowers, we know only her first name: Laure. Laure is black.
Anya Paintsil, Conversation Piece #5
“Ni yn unig” – only us. Titled in Welsh, Anya Paintsil’s first language, Ni yn unig is based on a childhood photograph. The artist and her sister, aged circa seven and five respectively, have been rendered in textiles: not only how they were (“She was quiet; I was loud. I was such an angry kid, and she was this duckling behind me,” says Paintsil), but how they felt themselves to be.
Mário Macilau, 2018
A boy stands centered in the frame. The eyes of his lightly painted face are closed. The foliage behind him, out of focus, situates him out of any identifiable place.
Tiffanie Delune, 2020
Delune’s excitement in staging encounters – setting, medium, sentiment – is palpable. It’s contagious, too; how could anyone resist travel-by-painting in a world whose borders have never felt so stark?
Shiraz Bayjoo, 2019
In Bayjoo’s Searching for Libertalia, ‘searching’ – with all its connotations of irresolution, journeying and betweenness – remains the operative word.
Abe Odedina’s Warm Leatherette is an uncanny tableau, familiar and alien at once. On its surface – and when it comes to painting, what else is there? – we observe a girl. Sofa. Table, LP. A bottle, and two glasses.