Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Author: Yvette Gresle

text: email

Broken English

AfricanahLakin_Ogunbanwo_Untitled_Hat_on_Face_2013_Archival_ink_jet_print_on_cotton_rag (3)

I was struck by the historical and geographical rootedness of particular artists even as they (or their work) may travel across borders. In a world where borders are rigidly controlled, which of the artists have enjoyed relatively free movement, and which have not? Exhibitions that are so deliberately curated would benefit from giving more attention to their texts. There is potential for critical and creative dialogues between curators, artists, writers and art historians.

Yvette Greslé on the group show ‘Broken English’ in a new London Gallery.
Lakin Ogunbanwo, Untitled (Hat on Face), 2013, courtesy Tyburn Gallery.

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Phoebe Boswell


The historical memory underpinning ‘The Matter of Memory’ is that of British colonialism in Kenya. The story of the Mau Mau insurrection in 1952, its brutal suppression, and the subsequent state of emergency which lasted until 1962, is a site of complex and contested narratives beyond the scope of this text. But the Mau Mau is an inescapable, traumatic presence in the very fabric of Boswell’s installation.

Yvette Greslé on the installation ‘The Matter of Memory’ by Phoebe Boswell
The Matter of Memory, 2013-2014, installation.

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El Anatsui

El Anatsui AG & BA detail 4 2014 Installation Aluminium   and copper wire and nylon string dimensions variable Photo Jonathan Greet courtesy October Gallery(1)

“(…) the work brings the ethical and political concerns of the environment, consumerism and waste into view. It suggests that we pay attention to the meanings, limitations and possibilities of recycling, without being didactic and heavy-handed (…).

Yvette Greslé on ‘the wall hangings’ of El Anatsui.

AG + AB, 2014 (detail), photo Jonathan Greet.

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Patrizia Guerresi Maïmouna


“Historically, feminist spirituality in art and thought (including cultural feminism) has searched for a language to counter patriarchal violence enacted upon female bodies. At a time of continued violence, MaÏmouna’s work invites a process of re-visiting these histories, and their significance to artists working currently, across generations and geographies.”
Yvette Greslé in her essay on Patrizia Guerresi Maïmouna.

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Senzeni Marasela

Senzeni_Marasela_performing_ at_Deveron_ Arts_Scotland_2009.

Performance is important to me. I like to insert myself into situations. I like to bring my work to people. I notice that where I work currently, there is a visible struggle with how I look. Women are so accustomed to being sexually available but my dress (as Theodorah) speaks to Black South Africans who understand that I am not available. I am interested in how far I can push limits and eventually provoke people to interact with me.
Yvette Greslé interviews the South African artist Senzeni Marasela.

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