The Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) is pleased to present Global African Profiles, an exhibition of works by acclaimed Angolan artist Daniela Ribeiro and Ndidi Emefiele, a dynamic new talent in contemporary Nigerian art.
Daniela Riberio's art is an intriguing and stimulating sensorial experience that explores the dynamic facets of man's ingenuity as he continuously pushes the boundaries of technology. Riberio is inspired by the impact technology has had on the world. She explores how the advent of technology has allowed man to create a bionic version of self, which allows him to connect with everyone and everything. "I feel motivated by the impact of social transformations caused by technology. The transition from a childhood in nature to adulthood in the western society, forced me to exchange my concept of reality and allowed me to understand the differences between developed and growing civilisations. In scientific surrealism, I found a critical way of expressing my sensitivity to the coincidence of different cultures and the way they respond to technological advance."
Comprising of fragmented multimedia pieces, Ribeiro uses recycled technological waste like mobile phone and computer parts, epoxy resins, vinyl and PVC to create her art. Together, these elements of her work are transformed from being individual parts to becoming that which creates whole poignant lifelike figures with movement, audio and video--connecting man to possible instances of artificial intelligence. They "embody the stigmata of technology" and yet, they are all intrinsically connected to the natural/real world - bringing a human essence to the works.
Ndidi Emefiele is an unconventional artist, whose environment informs her spellbinding art. Emefiele consistently engages with the feminine form, exploring and questioning the social, cultural and religious norms which shape and define the role of women in society. Emefiele said the Rainbow Series is about her passion to "reframe the image of what I grew to know as an ideal woman in a way diametrically opposite to what still exist. I make bold images, endearing figures with piercing gazes of figures that embody the cultural battles over the body of the female."
At 29, no subject is off limits for Emefiele; be it her quest to reposition the identity of women within the confines of a restrictive society as dictated by tradition and culture, or her explorations of female sexual power. In Rainbow Brigades, her characters are in suits, which traditionally symbolize power, but in this case, 'the form fitting suit suggests some consideration for sex appeal". Her art is bold and distinctive. Through her larger-than-life, fashion conscious characters with their 'blingtastic' retro eyewear, Emefiele successfully employs the art of recycling by using discarded materials that include compact discs, fabrics like Ankara and tulle, and scrap plastic. Her use of compact disc for her characters' sunglasses have become a way of making a statement but for Emefiele, it is also a protection mechanism for the woman--a device that comes from her own experience of wanting to wear glasses as a child and as soon as she could get a pair, it became a shield, something that made her feel powerful. Emefiele relishes the ability to use disparate elements to form the aesthetics of her work and in the process, creating art which has become her means of protest.