Mallory Lowe Mpoka. The Self-Portrait Project II, 2020. Inkjet print on Hahnemuhle paper.

Mallory Lowe Mpoka. The Self-Portrait Project II, 2020. Inkjet print on Hahnemuhle paper, Overall: 48.3 × 55.9 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Mallory Lowe Mpoka.

Re-Mixing African Photography: Kelani Abass, Mallory Lowe Mpoka and Abraham Oghobase

July 8, 2023 - January 7, 2024

Located on Level 2 in Gallery 249.

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EXHIBITION OVERVIEW

By exploring photographic histories in West and Central Africa—specifically studio portraiture—three contemporary African artists reimagine these traditions through a range of introspective, experimental, and critical approaches. Re-Mixing African Photography: Kelani Abass, Mallory Lowe Mpoka and Abraham Oghobase highlights these engagements with the photographic archive, and showcases new and recent works, featuring family photographs, archival material and mixed media objects. 

Blurring the boundaries between photography, painting, and sculpture with his series Scrap of Evidence (2018 - 2021), Kelani Abass's three-dimensional objects reflect his interest in memory, archives, and temporality. 

Mallory Lowe Mpoka mines family archives that expand on the tradition of studio photography in her performance-based, multi-layered compositions in her Self-Portrait Project (2020) and The Matriarch (Alter-Egos) (2023). 

Abraham O. Oghobase engages with self-portraiture in order to challenge limited colonial ideas related to race and otherness in Colonial Self-Portrait (2018).


 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Kelani Abass (b. Lagos, Nigeria, 1979) lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria. In his practice, Abass employs personal photographs to construct his multilayered and multi-dimensional work. Using archival material, he explores the possibilities inherent in photography, painting, and printing to highlight personal stories inspired by social and political events.

Abraham Onoriode Oghobase (b. Lagos, Nigeria, 1979) is a Nigerian visual artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. In his photography-based practice, he engages with issues around knowledge production, land, colonial histories and representation by experimenting with the narrative and materiality of his images.

Mallory Lowe Mpoka (b. Montreal, Canada, 1996) is a queer Cameroonian-Belgian artist who works between Tiohtiá:ke (Montreal) and Douala, Cameroon. Mpoka’s work often employs self portraiture, and her images form a unique diasporic aesthetic that draws inspiration from the history of Central African portrait photography.


ARTWORKS FROM THE EXHIBITION

Abraham O. Oghobase. Colonial Self-Portrait 01, 2018. Inkjet print on fine art paper.

Abraham O. Oghobase. Colonial Self-Portrait 01, 2018. Inkjet print on fine art paper, Overall: 12.7 × 17.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Abraham O. Oghobase.

Re-Mixing African Photography artwork
black and white photo of a person holding a picture frame with one foot on a stool.

Mallory Lowe Mpoka. The Self-Portrait Project I, 2020. Inkjet print on Hahnemuhle paper, Overall: 48.3 × 55.9 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Mallory Lowe Mpoka.

Re-Mixing African Photography artwork
Kelani Abass. Scrap of Evidence, Makohun I, 2019. Digital print, oil on canvas, cornerstone, rubber block.

Kelani Abass. Scrap of Evidence, Makohun I, 2019. Digital print, oil on canvas, cornerstone, rubber block, Overall: 30 × 35 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Purchase, with funds from The Garrett-Longe Family, 2022. © Kelani Abass. 2022/7086

Re-Mixing African Photography artwork

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