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.