Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté makes vast Window Commission at Rivington Place

By Culture24 Reporter | 08 December 2011
An image of two religious figures stitched into a piece of fabric
© Aboulaye Konaté, courtesy the artist
Exhibition: Abdoulaye Konaté: Window Commission 2011, Rivington Place, London, until January 3 2012

Philomena Frances used piped black treacle in a series of mimic molasses questioning identity and the black female body. Nilbar Güres made Beekeeper, a photographic composition on the representations of femininity and cultural identity. So it's no surprise to see Mali artist Abdoulaye Konaté take on an equally meaty issue for the fifth annual window commission from the Institute of International Visual Arts.

The 2008 Artes Mundi Prize nominee – a trained painter who has switched his hand to textiles and canvasses fashioned with cotton from his native land – has made a seven-metre long textile statement on the relationship between power and religion in Africa, stitching and weaving symbols before adding swathes of colour in a work inspired by Malian writer Massa Makan Diabaté's assertion that "the guinea fowl spreads out its colours over its plumage and man keeps them in his heart."

Roughly interpreted, the underlying suggestion accuses governments of taking an ambiguous position on religion, expanding Konaté’s tendency to make politically-charged pieces.

Tales, legends, theatre and literature influenced by religion south of the Sahara are also entwined in the fabric for good measure, deeming the Rivington window one worth staring into.
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