PINK FLAME in Nairobi spotlights 11 Sudanese female artists
Written by: Reem Aljeally
In Gigiri, Nairobi contemporary art curator and art dealer Thadde Tewa has gathered 44 female artists from around East Africa, from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Rwanda and Sudan. The exhibition, dedicated to emerging contemporary women artists, sets an effort towards recognising and promoting emerging contemporary women artists from the East Africa region as the curator describes it. “PINK FLAME” curated by Tewasart and Patrons, supported by The Goud’Art Collection opened its doors to the public on the 17th of September and on display until the 2nd of October at Nairobi’s Village Market Mall in the main exhibition hall.
Thadde (best known as Tewa) runs an independent curatorial service in East Africa, based in Nairobi alongside his platform TEWASART AFRICA, a website that offers documentation, features, consultation and more. Through “PINK FLAME’’, the curator highlights and commemorates unique artistic ideas and narratives being presented by a selected group of mid-career East African female artists. The exhibition’s title explores the idea of the artist ‘being on fire’ or a state of burning zeal or passion, putting an emphasis on the relentless feminine energy and charm the featured artworks and artists possess. As part of the exhibition program (Tewasart Week 2022), Thadde is not only focusing on their notable artworks but also their individual stories, artistic inspiration and practice.
The presence of Sudanese artists in the Kenyan art scene has been extremely notable and honouring as their work tend to stand out with elements to be only found through our rich culture. “PINK FLAME” was no exception to this excellency Sudanese artists show potential to. Featured in the show and selected by Tewa are mid-career artists: Maab Tajuldeen, Dahlia Baasher, Tibian Bahari, Alaa Hassan, Amani Azhari, Roaa Kamal, Elaf Badereldin, Aya Nile, Reem Aljeally, Yasmeen Abdallah, and Wafa Salah.
While the paintings of Amani caught the eyes of many with their serene gestures and vibrant colours and patterns, Dahlia’s earth tone oils took a new direction more focused on musical traditional culture. Another work highly admired by the exhibition’s visitors according to the curator, is the new “Line” collection by Roaa Kamal. Following her recent solo exhibition beginning of this year at The Turkish Cultural center in Khartoum, Roaa started to further develop her style in abstract figuration with a mix of vibrant geometric backgrounds.
Shifting from the large canvases by Dahlia and Roaa, center of the exhibition hall lays the small size print and mixed-media artworks of Wafa Salah that comment on daily life events explored through figurative compositions. Maab Tajueldeen in her first display in Kenya at “PINK FLAME” shows her strong works that seek to advocate for women in social contexts.
In general, the artworks featured in the exhibition mostly of portraiture, figurative, abstract works seem to complement each other showing diversity yet unity in africanism. Notable works that caught my attention from the exhibition’s catalogue, are Kenya’s multi media artworks of Sheila Bayley, the two recurring figures in Irene Katumbi’s work and Nadia Wamunyu’s distinguishable inks that emit movement.