OH Gallery bring together Amina Benbouchta and Félicité Codjo in an unusual poetic presentation at its showroom in Dakar. Titled ‘Mangrove’, the show combines elements that oppose and come together and gazes that respond to gestures, as the artists’ voices become one in reflecting women’s experiences and feelings.
Presented in a space replicating a private or domestic scene, symbolic imagery and everyday objects show an affinity between confinement and freedom and strength and fragility. The exhibition statement reads, “Together they trace a sinuous path, inhabited by mangroves immersed in troubled waters. While one opens cages toward freedom, the other questions the confinement, doubts and past demons. The legacies of women, childhood, memories and humanities become tinged with nuance and subjectivity. Between metacognition, reality and imagination, the artists draw paths towards the human essence, they have in common evils and colours that are transformed into play. Red and its ambivalence, pigment of history and feminine fragrance is the main thread of this descent into the human depths.”
Benbouchta, a Moroccan artist who lives and works between Paris and Casablanca, approaches her work through an anthropological reflection, exploring the dialogue between the environment, objects of everyday life and the human figure while highlighting this poetry of chance that often emanates from their meeting. She invents a symbolic language, from both personal concerns and socio-cultural issues: making visible what escapes the eyes.
After obtaining her degree in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies at McGill University, Montreal, in 1986, she attended various drawing, lithography and engraving workshops in Paris. Since 1986, her work has been presented in Morocco and abroad in many institutions and contemporary art events, including; the Cairo Biennale, the French Institute of Casablanca, The National Museum of Women in the Arts – Washington DC USA, the Kerava Art Museum – Finland, the Alexandria Biennale, the Art Fair Brussels and Marrakech Art Fair, the Docks Art Fair Lyon and in the OFF program of the Biennale de Lyon. Her portfolio includes drawing, painting, conceptual installation and photography. Play is an essential element in her work.
Codjo, a Senegalese-Togolese based in Dakar, is a draughtswoman and painter whose passion for drawing began when she was very young. In both paintings and drawings, her expressionist forms explore the depths of human feelings and emotions. Between art therapy and her own practice, she seeks to transmit commonly shared truths and creates real journeys to the heart of the human psyche, where wounds and imperfections come together under the name of liberation.
From 1985 to 1987, Codjo completed an apprenticeship in painting in a workshop in Lomé, Togo and soon after, she presented her works in the first editions of the Dakar Biennale in 1990 and 1992. In 2004, she discovered art therapy and joined the team leading an art therapy workshop for psychiatric patients at the Hôpital Principal de Dakar, culminating in showing the patients’ works at the OFF Dakar Biennale in 2006. From 2007 to 2016, Codjo has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Senegal, Togo, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Canada. In 2018, she was again selected for the Dakar Biennale.
‘Mangrove’ is on view at OH Gallery from May 17 to July 30, 2022. Visit their website for more information.