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The Ruling Class (Eshu) from A Counterva

Toyin Ojih Odutola, 'The Ruling Class (Eshu), from A Countervailing Theory, 2019.

Where: Barbican (The Curve), London

Pictures Allowed: Yes

Kid Friendly: Yes

Open: Mon-Fri 12.00 – 19.00, Sat & Sun 11.00 – 19.00

Price: Free Admission

A Countervailing Theory is a new series of large-scale drawings at The Barbican Gallery, The Curve and the first-ever UK commission by Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola.


An epic sequence of 40 new works unfurl across the 90-metre long curved gallery, exploring an imagined ancient myth, all in tones of black, white and grey, each suggesting part of a story, as well as unapologetically asking questions of the viewer.


Through the use of pencil, pastel, ballpoint pen and charcoal Odutola tells the story of a fictional pre-historic civilisation dominated by female rulers and served by male labourers, set in a surreal landscape inspired by the ancient rock formations of the Jos Plateau in Nigeria.


Each life-sized portrait is delicate and intricate, as it is beautiful. The works provide a stunning representation of a detailed and alternative perspective of figurative and landscape drawings, all the while challenging normative views of power dynamics, gender roles and sexuality. The series is reminiscent of a graphic novel each piece acting as an individual episode within an overarching narrative.


A Countervailing Theory presents a formidable sensorial marriage between image and sound. As viewers journey through the exhibition native instruments, electronics and natural elements created by Ghanaian-British conceptual sound artist Peter Adjaye accompany the artwork, triggering your imagination and allowing you to assume your own narrative. 

Where:Musée du quai Branly, Paris

Pictures Allowed: Yes

Kid Friendly: Yes

Open: Tuesday - Sunday 10.30 - 19.00

Price: €12, Reduced Rate €9 

For the first time ever Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac will be hosting a mixed medium exhibition to showcase a myriad of contemporary art forms (video, photography, installation and more). Following on from the museum's Photography Residencies program, which seeks to support artistic expressions which are not often visible in France. "Who is Gazing?" is a group exhibition featuring work by emerging and established artists from Africa, the Americas and Asia.


This exhibition presents twenty-six artists diverse in background, culture, disposition and art form. Heba Y. Amin (Egypt), Lek Kiatsirikajorn (Thailand) and Gosette Lubondo (Democratic Republic of Congo) are amongst some of the emerging artists featured. Lubondo's photography is inspired by her everyday surroundings as she explores mobility and the intersection between the past, present, people and places. In her "Imaginary Trip" series Lubondo revisits places of the past such as schools and carriages. Lubondo's subjects illustrate a parallel world between old and new, and how mobility is both an external and internal concept. 


Some of the more established artists include Sammy Baloji (Democratic Republic of Congo), Dinh Q. Lé (Vietnam) and Samuel Fosso (Cameroon). Fosso is known for using self-portraits to comment on contemporary African culture and identity. Fosso's photographic work, "African Spirit", pays homage to iconic leaders in the Pan-African liberation movement, and in "SIXSIXSIX" he expresses his "misfortunes and good fortunes", where he references the Biafran war through a collection of 666 self-portraits. 


"Who is Gazing" is sectioned into themes surrounding visual fragments of reality, allowing you to realise your identity through image, landscape stories and passages in time.

Words: Kunbi Oshodi


Gosette Lubondo, Imaginary Trip #15, 2016

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