Kundai Marunya Arts Correspondent
African folklore is rich in symbols that translate to different imagery and tell stories while conceptualising history, thought and reality. It is on this foundation that First Floor Gallery launched their 2019 programme by introducing Harare to the abstract work of Pebofatso Mokoena (South Africa) and Bouvy Enkobo (DRC) at an exhibition that opened on Tuesday evening.
Running under a befitting title “Songs of Sankofa” the body of work takes one into a journey of re-imagination and deep thought on the seeming beauty of the present in comparison with the past.
This is in line with Sankofa, a word in Ghana’s Twi language which means ‘go back and get it’.
Sankofa is often associated with proverb “so wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi” which translates to “it is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten”.
In their different brush strokes, unique styles and abstraction of images, the artistes layout thought-provoking visuals that grab one’s attention, taking them in the world of deep meditation in a way of inspiring different emotions.
The depth of colours and intentional randomness of their spread are enough to draw one deep in thought of what was, what can be and what will be, inspiring conceptualisation of the past, present and future.
In her statement on “Songs of Sankofa”, FFG director and curator of the exhibition Valerie Kabov said there is nothing random in the paintings.
“Each painting is a story that is personal and uniquely right and different for each viewer in the same way that any proverb or parable we receive translates uniquely in the context of each of our lives,” she said.
“While not appearing to reference anything specific or recognisable there is nothing random, unplanned or chaotic in any of the paintings in Songs of Sankofa.”
Mokoena and Enkobo are part of FFG’s “First Solo” residency project which saw them make new artworks in a period of three weeks, in a new environment.
They were challenged to use new techniques to create a new body of work.
The First Solo project aims to create a platform where artists from the region can connect, collaborate with Zimbabwean artists and to accelerate their artistic practice, with a first time exhibition in Harare. The exhibition runs until mid-February.