Artistic Director of the October Gallery, Elisabeth Lalouschek, stands on a chair to give some appreciative words about the 2 African artists exhibiting in the now concluded exhibition (just like Wordsbody to post after the event!) - Voyages, Crossing the Lake of Fire - 16 May. The exhibition, which displayed until 16 June, featured artists exploring the theme of 'Voyages' in commemoration of the bicentennary of the Slave Trade abolition.
In the blue agbada is Beninoise artist Julien Sinzogan whose 'Egungun' (masquerade) piece was the signature work of the exhibition. Here it is on the wall as Lalouschek speaks. She had visited Sinzogan in Benin to see an egungun for herself.
Next to Sinzogan is Zimbabwean sculptor Tapfuma Gutsa who is now based in Austria and, his usual materials (stones, calabashes...) being in short supply in his new abode, has begun to work with clay. Some of his clay pieces were on show in the exhibition. Gutsa is now a regular exhibitor at the October Gallery, which has a major interest in showing works by African artists. "In 1979 in Harare, I triggered an epidemic of sculpture," Gutsa declared during Africa 05 - and I recorded it in my article on him, published in the Lagos Guardian on 20 March 2005. Gutsa was dismayed by some of the words attributed to him in the piece (public utterances, mind you), but respected my right to report the truth as I saw/heard it. We remain friends. His piece, "The Miracle of Moses" & another stone work, inspired a poem of mine. Like a sculpture, the poem is taking a long time, and remains unfinished even after a year... Gutsa, a true artist.