Mary Evans and Emeka Ogboh: Mirrors & Echoes at Tiwani Contemporary
Some anthropologists believe our global world has created a supermodern age, characterised by vapid and identical spaces like shopping malls, airport lounges and motels, which exist simply to shelter people as they move between commercial or transport experiences. Mirrors and Echoes, hosted by Tiwani Contemporary in Fitzrovia, is an example of how this phenomenon emerges in the arts.
Tiwani Contemporary represents artists that focus on Africa and its diaspora. Mirrors and Echoes is a joint project between Mary Evans and Emeka Ogboh, who both have links to Nigeria. This is their first collaboration for Tiwani.
For six months Evans and Ogboh exchanged ideas via the Internet, nurturing this project. While Evans worked in the UK, Ogboh remained in Lagos collecting sounds and images; the harmony of the resulting exhibit suggests the artists enjoy a genuine rapport. Ogboh’s audio echoes unify Evans’ large paper silhouette friezes. The whole presentation becomes an impressionistic look at the hustle and bustle of Lagos, seen here across time and space, both real and imagined. Evans’ ceramics and collage works recall images from her childhood, while Ogboh adds layers of more recent observations.
Ogboh’s audio work is installed within and alongside a large frieze to inject a constant, but never intrusive, accompaniment to Evans’ paper silhouettes. Her choice sacrifices ambiguity, so we see her figures at exaggerated work or leisure. An image of a fully occupied bus acts to anchor the whole frieze and becomes the central vector through which Ogboh’s audio clips echo these lives on the move – glimpses of overheard gossip or fragments of brisk commercial transactions. While listening to the sounds Ogboh has captured and reflecting on them in combination with Evans’ raw images, captured in a colour palette of light browns, white and gold, it’s easy to imagine the bustle and sun-bleached glare of Lagos – a city of 20 million people, one of the world’s fastest-growing, true megacities.
Alongside the frieze are several silhouette portraits, two startling photographs by Ogboh and two kaleidoscopes through which the visitor can view. In a very literal sense these kaleidoscopes playfully distil the concept of this bold and imaginative exhibition.
Mirrors & Echoes is at Tiwani Contemporary until 20th December 2014, for further information visit here.