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Collect Call - Diaspora Dial

Collect Call // Diaspora Dial is a virtual exhibition designed by Forme Femine to confront the limitations on how African femininity is portrayed by African artists. The exhibition places artists of African descent in dialogue with viewers in Germany, UK and the USA on the subjects of culture and technological access. We invite the perspectives of emerging and established artists from different African geographies and belief systems, to explore new ways of engaging with femininity as a topic and as a concept to redefine and expand in relation to technology and the future.

Collect Call // Diaspora Dial references George Adéagbo’s The Story of the Lion (1999) and Tout a moi de Tous (2007). Adéagbo worked with common and artistic materials that “hint at their identical multiples existing somewhere else,” and was vocal about the underrepresentation of African art in large scale exhibitions. By observing how ‘authorship’ and ‘agency’ are created and recreated in the global art world, CC//DD asks how individuals of African descent take ownership of technology and culture outside of the Western lens.

CC//DD draws from late 20th century afro-feminist artists who pushed for self-representation in the art world, including “Where We At: Black Women Artists” (founded 1971, New York), the first known group show of black women artists worldwide. As with Adéagbo at the turn of the century, afro-feminist artists have long acknowledged the power in ownership over art from African and feminine identities. CC//DD welcomes artists’ perspectives on how the digital era creates new questions around creative power and access.

CC//DD welcomes artists to portray femininity across different social angles and multiple ideas of aesthetic appeal. Exploring these expressions of femininity from all perspectives, artists engage in diverse media for this exhibition, which will be placed on a globally accessible digital platform. This concept connects to the idea of the ‘collect call’, appraising the interwoven nature of technological enhancements and narrative ownership, as well as the transition to digital media/platform. In the late 20th century, collect calls could be made from, in principle, any public pay phone in the world. The individual who makes the call offers the other person the privilege to listen from a distance, addressing the imbalances of resources and access.

Communication between the Western world and Africa is frequently disrupted by questions of the hierarchic structures shaping visibility and narrative. CC//DD invites artwork on the uneven exchanges between Germany, the USA, UK and a constellation of African countries, and how art is a medium for old and new visibilities from African communities. The exhibition looks to soften the dualities between listener//speaker, sender//receiver, north//south and object//subject. CC//DD centers the themes of African womanhood, globalization and digitalization, especially around questions of social progress that artists are considering from the multiple perspectives their work engages.

Along creative, political and technological intersections, 2020 is particularly well-suited for tapping into the practices of artists of African descent and upbringing. The COVID pandemic’s restrictions on gathering in person and on travel, as well as accompanying global economic and political turmoil, are a special catalyst: CC//DD’s digital medium explores the need to be heard as social beings and members of an African diaspora. As with cell phones before them, today’s digitalization era offers value for continental African voices to exercise agency and serve themselves a slice of the future. Whether in Nigeria, Cameroun, Tunisia, or South Africa, communities are mobilizing both politically and creatively to demand equality and respect. Digital platforms have grown in value to continental African voices, from social media to e-payments and commerce. CC//DD captures this intersection in both form and function: placed on an entirely digital platform, the exhibition provides global visibility and accessibility for African artists and encourages uncompromising self-expression.

This collective call across the diaspora reflects on how cultural and artistic resources are transferred and restricted across oceans and people. CC//DD tests the boundaries of distance and proximity, employing the virtual as a mode for open exchange between Africa and the Western world. While intentionally focused on black feminine form and substance, CC//DD features work by artists across genders with ties to Africa.

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ENSEMBLE: Art, Activism and Gender

A Duo Exhibit - Illuminating Gender-based Violence through the Arts

Forme Femine Art Gallery is pleased to present ‘ENSEMBLE: Art, Activism and Gender’, displaying two of our passionate women artists; Clara Aden and Odirile Makaku.

This duo show pays homage to the collective women’s rights and feminist art movement, attempting to capture raw expressions of the experiences of marginalized women and illuminating interpretations of Gender-based violence.

Joining in on the annual international 16 Days of Activism campaign (currently running from 25th November to December 10th,2021), we seek to bring more awareness to femicide and violence against women, engaging art and dialogue in digital spaces.

ENSEMBLE is an exhibition of raw and intricately created mixed media works highlighting how female artists of African descent employ art forms in highlighting narratives bordering on violence against women on the African continent.

Featuring Nigerian artist, Clara Aden and South African artist, Odirile Makaku, this duo exhibit draws influence from collective calls to action globally, attempting to visually illuminate these voices in a digital ensemble through sensitive artistic representations of key happenings that affect the plights of women in the Sub Saharan Region.

The works selected for this project dissect interpretations and creative expressions of the core themes of gender-based violence and femicide - through the African lens, extending to global contexts as a symbolic way to connect concurrent human and civil rights movements across the globe.

Employing brushstrokes, drawing and mixed media, the artists share their illustrative expressions on related occurrences and their ripple effect, from experiences in their immediate environment and beyond - via a virtually hosted platform, increasing awareness on these global gender issues.

The show also features a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) collection in the ‘Minted Memoirs’ booth as an attempt to digitize or ‘tokenize’ the intersection of women’s art, representation, gender issues and GBV related statistics.
Drawing strong influences from in-depth conversations in the ‘Making a Feminist Internet: Movement Building in A Digital Age in Africa’ 2019 final report, which highlighted art and technology as tools for expression and the further advancement of women’s rights, as well as the role of women in collectively reimagining, making and amplifying existing platforms/movements.

Forme Femine acknowledges the importance of art, technology and innovation in driving a more inclusive and sustainable society for women.

Using art activism, this exhibition invites the public to engage in an uneasy but necessary dialogue on global human and civil rights.

Clara Aden
Aden’s body of work seeks to find ‘the cracks and holes in the walls’. It is an illuminated approach to storytelling - bringing awareness to gender inequality and call for action to end Gender based violence against women and girls.

Odirile Makaku
In her series, Makuku adopts the mental states of victimized South African women. Drawing from her own experiences; she creates these artworks as a form of healing process. In her words, “letting go of the fear inflicted, scars that I carry and pain that no longer serves me.”
Each piece in her series is a tribute to a specific article based on GBV topics in South Africa.

Curatorial Note:
The development and refining of this exhibit's concept took place across four weeks of artistic production, studio labor, and virtual workshops with the artists, exploring a practical intersection of art, activism and gender.

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Forme Femine in collaboration with Arneli Art Gallery presents ‘INTERCONNECTED’ - a cross-cultural group exhibition between Africa and the Middle East.
Facilitating a space for dialogue and creativity, the two platforms have converged two different civilizations; of affluent history, culture and traditions, seeking to advance the participation and practice of women artists in contemporary art.

‘Interconnected’ is a virtual exhibition that explores the artistic connections between 18 female artists; 9 from Lebanon and 9 from across Africa(1 from Ghana, 6 from Nigeria, 2 from South Africa).
The exhibition traverses through the familiar ties and interconnectedness of human psychological and social experiences relevant to current evolving times. It further breeds an opportunity for women artists from these regions to retain their individual account of events, own their narratives and share visual depictions with a global audience via an online platform.

The exhibition features 36 works in a variety of mediums and perspectives outlined in paintings, photography, mixed media and digital art. Teetering between the known and the unknown, abstraction and figuration; the selected artists examine the interconnected complexities of human experience detailed through distinct artistic styles and approaches - in personal theory and form.


Chloe Sfeir
Dzovig Arnelian
Elise Zakhour
Iman Toufaily
Joanna Raad
Lodi Sabra
Lucinda Currell
Lynn Osman
Manar Ali Hassan

Anthonia Ndukauba
Ashiata Shaibu
Efia Serwah
Jane Agolia
Kgaugelo Rakgwele
Mary Onidare
Oluwapelumi Oluyemi
‘Vry Blvk’ (✝)
Wande Oseni

DATE: 27 JUL - 18 SEPT, 2022

Charlene Chikezie and Dzovig Arnelian

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