Deqa Abshir Exhibition
One Off is pleased to present
An exhibition of works
by Deqa Abshir
Private View: Sunday 28 June 2015
Exhibition Run: 28 June to 22 July 2015
Somali-Kenyan artist Deqa Abshir (b.1983), is an emerging artist in Kenya, whose artwork expresses the complexities of identity and society, and how the two are constantly shifting.
There are various influences that make up who Deqa is, but her identity as a Somali and a Kenyan is fundamental to her artwork. Her experiences of travelling around the world all play a part in her work and have led to the questions that define her experiences: What is identity? How rooted is identity in citizenship or where we live? How grounded is culture in tradition?
Through her paintings, Deqa tries to put such thoughts in order. This discourse of identity and culture affects so many young Africans, who everyday are confronted with issues of globalization, while having to engage with national, tribal and cultural pressures. Contrary to what is expected, this has made her generation stronger, more diverse and more accepting. This acceptance and growth is something she strives to inspire in her work. However, has this resilience translated to African cultures and traditions?
Her work attempts to highlight some of the paradoxes of modern culture; the way in which our traditional or semi-traditional upbringings and the culture that surrounds our everyday lives contradict the modern fixtures tattooed across Africa. Her artwork endeavors to highlight the juxtapositions between the realistic and the poetic, the traditional and the modern, the global south and the global north.
Introduction to the “Foundations” Exhibition
Deqa’s recent work has been exploring the evolution of culture and the extent of tradition’s impact upon it. The rush for social and economic growth has clearly had an effect on the development of culture and as we observe the emergence of our urban, globalized environment, it becomes ever more obvious that our malls and skyscrapers are standing on shaky foundations.
With cities growing bigger and the world getting smaller, what can be done to strengthen the foundations of society? Could tradition help solidify these foundations or provide the next generation with an understanding and respect for the reason why things were done the way they were? Which traditions enrich our cultures and which traditions impoverish them?
With this body of work Deqa has selected one Somali tradition to explore the questions above. The Somali traditional hut, also known as a “waab” is a symbol of traditional life and a foundation of Somali nomadic culture. Today, they have come to symbolize the despondent and hopeless existence of a refugee. Will we conserve, restore and rebuild traditions honouring forgotten principles; or will we keep creating a new city and culture, pressing our foundations ever further into the earth?
Preview of Works
Click thumbnail to enlarge and scroll through all images
Exhibition openings are usually on the last Sunday of every month, excluding December. Do join our mailing list so we can add you to our invitation list.