The Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) is pleased to present a solo exhibition by the Paris-based, Kenyan artist and designer Evans Mbugua. His first solo exhibition in London, DIALOGUE, presents his latest series of works along with two new installation pieces.
Evans Mbugua has garnered quite a following with his bold and striking "Pop Art" pieces. Mbugua is unafraid of strong, vibrant colours and utilises these along with his unique print designs (from his graphic design background) to create exciting and engaging works of art. In this new body of work, Mbugua explores 'Dance' and the way in which the human body communicates through movement - creating expression, showcasing feelings and inspiring varying degrees of emotion in the observer. The interplay between each dance move creates a "dialogue" - a universal language all individuals can relate to.
This series presents two contemporary choreographers who Mbugua has been observing individually for the last two years. Neither of the dancers was cognizant of the other, but linkages between their respective forms, movements, and expressions captivated Mbugua. "I wanted to create some sort of conversation between their different fields of contemporary dancing through my work. I built this series of works as if it were one contemporary dance performance. I find that through the art pieces, from one body expression to another, a dialogue is created. In painting these contemporaries, I invite the spectator to look at their world in a colourful way."
Mbugua's intricately detailed print designs (which form the backdrops) construct a three-tiered effect. They add a layer of intrigue to each work, in turn triggering their own conversations. Mbugua's works are a rhapsody of design, fused with the technique of pointillism, captured and brought to life on his mediums of choice - glass and perspex. His particular focus on urban signs and pictograms creates a universal link.
Alongside his latest series of works, the exhibition also includes two installations by Mbugua, marking a new direction for the artist. Continuing his exploration of dialogue, he has created 20 small individual art pieces using "mouth details", each featuring a different expression. This series is the initiation of a long-term project for the artist. Discussing these works, Mbugua notes: "I see the installation(s) as involving several people in conversation and as an invitation to dialogue. I believe that art can and should be a bridge to bring people together." With the second installation, the artist invites us all to partake in his world and capture our own personal moment with him. A backdrop of one of his unique prints serves as a scene where visitors can create their own studio portrait inspired by Mbugua's work.