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Ayo Akingbade at Chisenhale Gallery

November 10, 2022–February 5, 2023

Ayo Akingbade, a filmmaker based in London, presents two new videos as part of his solo show, Show Me The World Mister. The Fist and Faluyi are Akingbade’s most ambitious projects to date, expanding on her ongoing interest in history, place-making, legacy, and power. Both films were shot on site in Nigeria.

The Fist, a 35mm film production, is a close-up look at a modernist factory. It is the first Guinness brewery constructed outside of Ireland and the UK and is situated in Nigeria, 12 miles outside of Lagos, on the Ikeja Industrial Estate. The plant, which was finished in 1962 after Nigeria gained independence from Britain, serves as a focal point for the intertwined histories of industrialization and labor. Akingbade astutely draws attention to the pervasive politics ingrained in the creation of the beverage by observing workers’ arrivals and departures as well as the assembly and packing lines at the facility.

At the opposite end of the gallery, the second movie by the artist, Faluyi, follows the main character Ife as she sets off on a contemplative journey to explore her ancestors’ mysticism and family history. The 16mm Idanre Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Ondo State, where Akingbade’s parents were born, served as the backdrop for the 16mm film’s introspective examination of the artist’s own relationship with Nigeria. A poignant story of loss and longing, turning hope and celebration, is set against sweeping views of rocky hills ringed by dense trees.

Both movies are part of a larger installation that is defined by a central axis made of polycarbonate, steel, and aluminum. The gallery, a former veneer factory and brewery, operates in a dimly lit environment, but the original building can still be seen via a tinted coating that resembles the dust from West Africa’s harmattan season. The presentation avoids complete darkness to highlight man-made features and remember the dimming Faluyi street lights.

The Fist: 24 minutes / Faluyi: 14 minutes
The films screen consecutively and loop every 45 minutes
First screening: 12pm; last screening: 5:15pm

Exhibition events
As part of the commissioning process, a programme of talks and events has been devised in collaboration with Ayo Akingbade, spanning the duration of the exhibition.

Talk: Thursday, November 17, 7pm (onsite & online) 
A panel discussion including Cultural Theorist Dr David Dibosa and academic Sam Wetherell reflecting on themes of power, trade and industrialisation in Akingbade’s films.

Reading: Thursday, December 8, 7pm (onsite & online)
An evening of live readings responding to the exhibition with poet Gboyega Odubanjo and others 

Workshop: Saturday, January 7, 2pm (onsite) 
Artist Birungi Kawooya leads a creative workshop exploring West African batik inspired by Akingbade’s films. 

Conversation: Thursday, February 2, 7pm (onsite & online) 
Ayo Akingbade is joined by travel writer and author Noo Saro-Wiwa to discuss the new commission.

Ayo Akingbade
 lives and works in London. Selected exhibitions include: Duette, Towner Eastbourne, (2022); Jitterbug, Museum of the Home, London (2022); Domestic Drama, Halle Fuer Kunst Steiermark, Graz; A Glittering City: Ayo Akingbade with Duchamp & Sons, Whitechapel Gallery; An Infinity of Traces, Lisson Gallery, London (all 2021); Songs From A Forgotten Past, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, Sao Pāulo (2020); Towner International Biennial, Towner Eastbourne; No News Today, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (all 2019); and Urban Rhapsodies, Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York (2017). Her films have been shown at Cannes Film Festival, Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, MoMA Doc Fortnight and International Short Film Festival Oberhausen among others. Akingbade was a finalist in Visual Art for Arts Foundation Futures Award and is a recipient of the Kleinwort Hambros Emerging Artist Prize, Brewers Award and Loewe Foundation X Studio Voltaire Award.

Chisenhale Gallery
64 Chisenhale Road
London E3 5QZ
United Kingdom
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 12–6pm

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