FROM DAKAR TO LONDON:
Anatomies, Design and Objects
Balla Niang, Amwa Designs, Cheick Diallo and Astrid Dahl
30th April - 12th May 2018
In honour of the 13th Dakar Art Biennale, Dak'ART 2018 in the Senegalese capital city, we are pleased to pay homage to Senegalese artist and designer Babacar N'iang (1964-2015), by exhibiting new pieces made by his younger brother Balla N'iang whom he trained.
For this homage to Babacar N'iang's spirit of high creativity and rigour in the making process, we have also selected objects and designs by Astrid Dahl (South Africa), the British-Ghanaian Amwa Designs and Franco-Malian Cheick Diallo which demonstrate similar concerns to Babacar's practice, such as an obsession in sublimating materials - even those of humble origin - and the drawing of inspiration from anatomy.
Babacar N'iang passed away a month after we showed his sculptural designs in London in the group show African Renaissance and at the same time of his solo exhibition at the R and Company gallery in New York. The international recognition of his great talent was sadly too late.
Designer-makers should bear in mind their duty to train younger people so that special craftmanship and aptitude with ideas should not be lost: this is what Babacar did, particularly with his younger brother Balla with whom he worked closely. This legacy is now expressed by Balla who is bravely continuing Nulangee Design, the studio funded by Babacar in 2002. Balla N'iang takes unique inspiration from his brother's vision, using locally sourced materials such as ebony, cattle horn and leather to reinterpret the uncanny and highly personal antropoid creations that were Babacar's signature. We will be showing six new chairs made by Balla N'iang.
Sculptural ceramics by Astrid Dahl; the South African ceramicist who shares Babacar's interest in anatomy, although it is the flora that inspires her stunning creations.
The Mandet side table by Franco-Malian Cheick Diallo: Diallo was a friend and supporter of Babacar's work. His side table is an exercise in using humble materials in a strong expression of shape within the gallery space.
Two creations by Amwa Designs, a British-Ghanaian brand developed by Chrissa Amwa, the founder of Africa By Design. Her Asanka coffee table displays both 'muscles' and lightness with its solid pottery base upon which sits a glass top. Also featured in the exhibition is her carefully hand printed Kete Pa suede throw.