EXHIBITION

Eltayeb Dawelbait & Immy Mali

8th September 2022 - 8th October 2022
NCAI 

NCAI’s exhibition programme is organized around 4 major exhibitions every year. Alongside these, NCAI also undertakes short-term projects and interventions in the space which extend and complement the programme. The first exhibition of this kind is a twofold exhibition featuring two artists from East Africa - Ugandan artist, Immy Mali, and Sudanese artist Eltayeb Dawelbait. The exhibition brings a work of art by Immy Mali that is anchored in personal memory and the artist’s engagement with their past and present experiences into conversation with a collection of artworks, archival materials, and personal objects drawn from the home and studio of Eltayeb Dawelbait. 

 

The letters, sounds, and images that make up Immy Mali’s Dear Marcue Love Immy  are deeply personal, giving a glimpse into the private sphere amidst a larger social context, whilst the archival materials gathered from Dawelbait’s studio make visible the evolution of his artistic language. The dual presentation of these two artists’ work invites the audience to consider the place of archives and memory in artistic creation, and how they may also inform our encounters with artists and their work. 

 

Immy Mali

 

In line with NCAI’s vision of the promotion and preservation of contemporary art from East Africa, NCAI has begun building a collection of modern and contemporary works by artists of  this region. One of the first contemporary works to be added to this collection is Dear Marcue, Love Immy, 2019 (A compilation of letters to my childhood 2017-2019). Dear Marcue… is an artist book in five parts, composed of a series of letters by the artist to her younger self, a flip book animation, an accordion phonebook, and a dysfunctional audiobook containing what the artist describes as the sound of memory. Working in various media including, text, video, sound, sculpture, installation, animation, Immy Mali's work attempts to unpack the complexities and entanglements of memory and existence in a neo/postcolonial Uganda. Her work is further influenced by notions of presence and absence, and personal memories of childhood growing up in Uganda juxtaposed with current personal and collective experiences of existence in shifting spaces. 

 

The presentation on this work will be accompanied by a conversation about books as an artistic medium and the place of bookmaking and publishing within contemporary artistic practices. This conversation will take place in-person at NCAI on 1 October 2022, and a recording will be available online afterwards.

 

Bio:

Immy Mali, b. 1990

Lives and works in Kampala, Nairobi

 

Using a variety of media including, text, video, sound, sculpture, installation, animation, Immy Mali’s work attempts to unpack the complexities and entanglements of memory and existence. Notions of presence and absence, personal memories of childhood growing up in Uganda juxtaposed with current personal and collective experiences of existence in shifting spaces also influence her work. Her ongoing project Letters to My Childhood (2017-present) accords her the duality to engage with her past and present simultaneously.

 

She is the co-founder of Iraa - the granary, an experimental artist’s kitchen geared towards exploring the possibility of creating archival/memory systems of artists’ work that is relevant to the African context. She is a graduate of Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine arts, Makerere University, Kampala. She is an alumnus of the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (2018-2019), and of the Asiko Art School (Maputo, 2015).

 

Mali has previously been an artist-in-residence at Rhodes University South Africa artist residency, the East African Regional Exchange Residency Program, 32° East Ugandan Arts Trust, and the KHOJ International Workshop Pune Maharashtra India. She has participated in exhibitions in Kenya, Uganda, Angola, Nigeria, Senegal, Netherlands, India, Ethiopia, Germany, USA, and Mozambique. Her work has been featured in art publications including the Africa Arts Journal 2019.

 

Eltayeb Dawelbait

 

Eltayeb Dawelbait's multifaceted practice spans a broad range of media and material, including drawing, painting, collage sculpture, textiles, and installation. Born in Kosti in 1968, Dawelbait studied sculpture and textile design at the College of Fine and Applied Arts at Sudan University, and has been  resident in Nairobi for almost three decades. Dawelbait’s  creations move seamlessly between figuration and abstraction, incorporating objects of varied origins including, but not limited to, discarded furniture, milk cartons and cigarette packets, mannequins, and plenty more in between. A self-described collector of beautiful things, the use-value of these objects, and the significance that the artist attaches to them are the foundation for his work.

 

This exhibition presents a selection of artworks alongside an array of archival materials drawn from the artists' studio and home: early studies created soon after the completion of his studies; sketch books and preparatory drawings; posters from previous projects and exhibitions; and selected objects from the artist’s home. The exhibition invites visitors to think about the lives of objects and to consider Dawelbait’s oeuvre through the lens of these miscellanea. 

 

Bio:

Eltayeb Dawelbait, b. 1968

 

Eltayeb Dawelbait's multifaceted practice spans a broad range of media and material, including drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, textiles, and installation. Born in Kosti in 1968, Dawelbait studied sculpture and textile design at the College of Fine and Applied Arts at Sudan University, and has been  resident in Nairobi for almost three decades. Dawelbait’s  creations move seamlessly between figuration and abstraction, incorporating objects of varied origins including, but not limited to, discarded furniture, milk cartons and cigarette packets, mannequins, and plenty more in between. A self-described collector of beautiful things, the use-value of these objects, and the significance that the artist attaches to them are the foundation for his work. This exhibition presents a selection of artworks alongside an array of archival materials drawn from the artists' studio and home: early studies created soon after the completion of his studies; sketch books and preparatory drawings; posters from previous projects and exhibitions; and selected objects from the artist’s home. The exhibition invites visitors to think about the lives of objects and to consider the evolutions of Dawelbait’s oeuvre through the lens of these materials.