Body of Land - Awuor Onyango & Sekai Machache
12th June - 1st August 2021
Body of Land is an intimate exploration of African diasporic femininities in Scotland and Kenya, featuring exhibitions by Awuor Onyango and Sekai Machache, developed from a residency exchange produced by Fòcas Scotland and supported by Street Level Photoworks. The exhibition has been programmed as part of Glasgow International festival of contemporary visual art Across the City Programme.
Machache and Onyango use lens-based media in distinct ways, making playful portraits, films and installations that re-imagine the real, mythic, and legendary encounters between Africa and its global Diasporas. Gravitating to the female subject, each traces a personal and cultural journey from subject to subjectivity, telling stories that celebrate what binds and splits the body, spirit, land, and social self across contemporary African identities at once rooted and displaced.
Awuor Onyango (b.1990) lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya. A writer, artist, filmmaker and photographer, their practice is concerned with exploring politics of the personal, body and the self as art. Their interests include exploring the black African feminine, the gendered leanings of society, the archetypes and psycho-social role of the queer and various socio-cultural implications of ‘African-ness’. Their aim is to question the colonial and ‘globalised’ view of the African as believed by the African, the African diaspora, the colonialist and his kin.
Recent exhibitions include ‘School of Anxiety’ at Jo’Burg Art Fair, Johannesburg 2017; ‘Appropriation and other practises’ HBK Braunschweig 2018; ‘A Celebration of Queer Love’ Iwalewa Haus, 2018; ‘Genesis: Autonomous bodies’ at Iwalewa Haus, 2018. In 2018 Awuor undertook a residency through Focas Scotland which was hosted by Street Level Photoworks.
Sekai Machache (b.1989) is a Zimbabwean-Scottish visual artist and curator based in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work is a deep interrogation of the notion of self. She is interested in the relationship between spirituality, imagination and the role of the artist in disseminating symbolic imagery to provide a space for healing. Sekai works with a wide range of media including photography. Her photographic practice is formulated through digital studio-based compositions utilising body paint and muted lighting conditions to create images that appear to emerge from darkness.
Sekai is the recipient of the 2020 RSA Morton Award and an artist in residence on the Talbot Rice Residency Programme 2021-23. She is also a board member at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. Forthcoming exhibitions include Projects 20 at Stills Gallery, July 2021; 1:54 African Art Fair London at Somerset House with Sakhile & Me Gallery Frankfurt, October 2021; and Addis Foto Fest 2020/21 – Addis Ababa, December 2021.
Sekai works internationally and often collaboratively, for and within her community and is a founding and organising member of the Yon Afro Collective. She is also exhibiting in another GI2021 Across the City project at the Heritage Centre at House for an Art Lover.
View the virtual exhibition here
From the Gallery: Body of Land Walk & Talk Tour
7.30pm Friday 11th June
Livestreamed on Facebook*
2pm Saturday 19th June
Live on Zoom, Free but ticketed
Book via Eventbrite
Supported by the British Council East Africa Arts programme and British Council Scotland.
Banner Image: From the series ‘Ritual Manifestations’ © Sekai Machache
Left Image: From the series ‘Memoritual’ © Awuor Onyango
*Live streams are available to viewers with or without a Facebook account. Viewers without a Facebook account can access the stream directly at https://www.facebook.com/streetlevelphotoworks/live_videos/