Glass blown sculptures
Exhibited at Art Rotterdam 2023 with Singular Art Gallery & Amant, New York, 2022
This work materialized during Ayo's studio research residency at Amant, New York. Part of her process has been archived here
Much appreciation for the support from
Jason Robert Bauer, Romina Gonzalez & Malcolm Kriegel
Urban Glass Studio New York
WHEN THINGS ARE BEINGS
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
2022 - 2023
Winnow(er) (2022) is the outcome of Ayo’s quest to learn the craft of weaving winnowing fans in the style of Langi people living in northern Uganda—the objects are known as Odero (“Langi winnowers”) in the artist’s mother tongue. Presenting the fans as sculptural objects that were inspired by a Langi winnower inherited by the artist herself, the project investigates embodied knowledge about personal and collective histories etched deep within diasporic bodies. The center of gravity for this project lies in the expansion of Ayo’s practice towards informal knowledge production and immaterial cultural heritage.
Conceptually, Winnow(er) represents the forces manifested through the multiplicity of energies and purposes that can be contained within this object. Winnowers are not only used in agriculture, but also in ceremonies such as Dwoko Atin Awobi lot, a child-cleansing practice and rite of passage that UNESCO recognized in 2013 as intangible cultural heritage. Ayo’s engagement with her diasporic experience—using Dutch materials while engaging with Ugandan techniques and heritage—imbues Winnow(er) with trans-historical and trans- geographical significance.
Photo: Geert-Jan Van Rooij
Concept and exhibition curation: Amanda Pinatih and Britte Sloothaak, with the help of intern Jasmijn Mol.
SHE ASKED ME, 'WHY DID YOU COME IF YOU'LL LEAVE AGAIN?'
Between 2019 and 2022, Ayo repetitively cast her inherited winnowing fan in concrete, as a way of invoking the memory of home and her landscape. Two of these ten casts were exhibited during the group show, 'A Door A Jar Singing' at Shimmer.
"A Door Ajar, Singing is an expanded group exhibition featuring 6 artists whose artworks connect to entrances and exits in the broadest sense. Joining us over the following months are (in order of appearance) Alexandra Phillips, Lee Kit, Ayo, Melvin Moti, Jo-ey Tang, and Charlotte Posenenske.
We are inspired by the power of artmaking and curating. How it enables us to enter into an encounter, make an individual decision collectively, and when to exit. Exits are just as crucial as entries, as it gives space for someone else to enter and then move on. A Door Ajar, Singing celebrates the deeply connected materiality that communicates over thresholds through different physicalities and temporalities. We hover at the door left ajar, be uplifted by the autumn leaf, replay the voice message, cast ourselves over and over again in material, attend to a memory of land and country, and meditate through repetitive action. We find ways to connect. We let go. Come back. Back and forth. To and fro. Exhale. Sing. Always singing."
Exhibition text written by Shimmer
UNFAIR & PROPSECTS
Westergasfabriek Amsterdam 2022 & Art Rotterdam 2023
Singing Off Key, 4K Video, approximately 13 minutes
Vulgar vagabonds, Sculpture, (Clay, Epoxy resin & Pigment) ,
Handwritten text on paper
Ayo moved from Uganda to the Netherlands thirteen years ago. The distance she experiences between memories of childhood in Uganda and the life she leads as an adult in the Netherlands was the starting point for this mixed media installation. The video in the installation, Singing Off Key explores in poetic fragments different experiences of individuals who are part of the African diaspora. The video begins with the image of a woman with a winnower, an object used to separate chaff from wheat. For Ayo, this shuffling, accompanied by a rhythmic sound, is a metaphor for the shuffling she herself experiences as a migrant. Part of herself she left behind in Uganda, and another part is in the Netherlands. In the film, members of the African diaspora in Uganda, the Netherlands and France share unique experiences of belonging and displacement. Ayo made the sculptures, paintings, photographs and text during filmic research. None has a hierarchy over the other.
Text - Sarah Van Binsbergen, Prospects catalogue 2023