The Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) is pleased to present an exhibition of works by the Nigerian artist-designer Mimi Shodeinde and the Angolan artist Imanni Da Silva.
Mimi Shodeinde is a multidisciplinary painter and furniture designer based in London. Each of these creative disciplines works in synergy as in both her painting and her furniture design, Mimi is strongly influenced by the power, beauty and character of the female form. Mimi says, "A real artist combines her good character and her beauty. It's a package."
The artworks presented in the exhibition are from Mimi's Iwa series - which means "character" in Yoruba. The featured works explore the relationship between the psyche and power of the African woman through mixed-media portraiture and furniture. Using a combination of a somber colour palette and dark symbolism, Mimi creates harmony between the physiology and psychology of the female form. Her pieces are adorned with streaks of gold to signify light and strength, against a backdrop of a seemingly solemn silhouette. Her nudes contain a dichotomy of richness in texture and depth while also having substance without the pretense at an overdone "raffinement."
The curves of the female body in each painting are mirrored perfectly in the furniture on display: two variations of Mimi's Iman Lounger - one in leather and one in plexi-glass. The materials employed in the furniture speak directly to a woman's strength (leather) and vulnerability (plexi-glass).
Imanni Da Silva is based in London and in her country of birth, Angola. Both homes offer great inspiration to her creative life. In Luanda, Angola Immani is a regular name on the contemporary art scene, and she is seen as "one to watch". She is also an Angolan TV presenter, model and writer. Immani's fertile imagination and daring creativity have led her to explore the realms of fashion, art and film - each of these disciplines has enhanced her artistic practice.
Imanni's art is a perfect synergy of colour and opulence. She is strongly influenced by bold, bright and luxuriously rich colours, and she holds a great love for fashion and textiles. These influences are visible in her artworks - as they form a marriage between visual art and couture.
Marked by touches of pop art, surrealism, Illustration and the abstract, Imanni's works emphasize femininity´s rich beauty and embrace glamour, luxury and sophistication. She layers her canvases enhancing them with 24K gold leaf along with less conventional materials such as glass, crystal, metal and embroidery. Immani explains her role perfectly: "My job is to make people dream while they're awake, and that is art's main purpose."