Under the title "Mon histoire", the Melbye-Konan Gallery will exhibit the new works of the Ivory Coast-born artist Atowla in a solo exhibition from June 18 to July 16, 2022. We are pleased to invite you to our new exhibition rooms in Mittelweg 169.
"Mon histoire" (meaning "my story") can be interpreted in two ways. On the one hand, it presents the individual history of the artist or the people in his paintings; on the other hand, it could also be interpreted as the collective history of Ivorians in particular and Africans more broadly.
The individual story is made clear by the expressive protagonists, who are usually the sole subject of Atwola's paintings. They convey strength, self-confidence and pride. Likewise, the paintings radiate calm and self-confidence. Atowla himself says that he wants to find and show beauty with his art.
Some of the portraits are of well-known personalities such as Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, who fought for freedom and independence for his people during apartheid. Atwola also portrayed Jean-Michel Basquiat, who in the last century was one of the first African-Americans to achieve fame on the white art market. Partly, however, unknown people are also the subject of Atowla's art. By means of his modern and pop-like representations, the young artist manages to depict independent quite diverse personalities in their individuality. The artist makes it clear that every person is worth to be shown in his art.
At the same time, "Mon histoire" also describes a new collective history that Africans are writing. They clearly want to distance themselves from the culture of the Western countries, which was imposed on them during the colonial period, and now freely and independently rewrite their own history. Atwola contributes significantly to this with his art. He provides new perspectives on the history of Côte d'Ivoire, which was under French colonial rule from 1893 to 1960. It was not until August 7, 1960 that the country declared its independence and became the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, which is why young, creative Ivorians can still contribute to the new writing of history today. Atowla also wants to contribute to social discourse through his art.
"In short, my art has an impact on society, just as society is at the center of my art." (-Atowla)
An exhibition by Stella Melbye-Konan, Curatorial assistance by Rena Taeger and Stella Fink.