1:54 London 2016

Somerset House, London, 7 – 11 October 2016

Circle is pleased to be showing for the first time at 1:54 London presenting a selection of artists from Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Ato Malinda (b. 1981) in Nairobi, Kenya and lives and works in Rotterdam, Netherlands. She studied Art History and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, and has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from Transart Institute, New York. Malinda is currently a PhD candidate at Leiden University and the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

Her works consist of performance, drawing, painting, installation, video, and ceramic object-making. Through her diverse practice, Malinda investigates the hybrid nature of African identity, contesting notions of authenticity, as well as focuses on gender and sexuality.

Malinda was one of the awardees of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2015) and won the One Minutes Award (2012) for moving photography. Her solo shows include “Games” (2013) at Savvy Contemporary, and “Incommensurable Identities” (2011) at Aarhus Art Building. She has exhibited in group exhibitions at Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main (2014), the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution (2015), Salon Urbain de Douala in Cameroon (2010) and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen (2015).

Dennis Muraguri (b. 1980) in Naivasha, Kenya is a multimedia artist working in painting, printmaking installations and sculpting. Muraguri lives and works as an artist in Nairobi, Kenya. He has been a resident artist at Kuona Trust in Nairobi since 2005. Muraguri graduated from Buru Buru Institute of Fine Arts with a diploma in Painting and Art History.

Muraguri has been working as an artist for 13 years and is mostly recognized for his body of work inspired by ‘matatu’ (Kenyan minibuses and vans that are the main mode of public transport). In this work, Muraguri explores urban culture of contemporary Nairobi. In his sculptures Muraguri works with recycled wood and metal to create a representation of the industrialization in Kenya.

Ephrem Solomon was born in Addis Ababa and graduated from the Entoto Art School in 2009. He observes and presents socio-political works using woodcut and mixed media. Views of the city and the people that inhabit the spaces around him inform his work, as does a fictional world that exists beyond the present. Using black and white to symbolize this juncture in reality, he produces bold figures and portraits that capture both personal and public power relations in society.

Ephrem has exhibited internationally including in Ethiopia, Kenya, Dubai and Croatia. In 2014 he had his first solo exhibition in the UK at Tiwani Contemporary, London. His work is in private collections in Dubai, Kenya, South Africa and the UK, including the Saatchi Collection.

Ndema Paul was born in Uganda in 1979. He studied at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts, Makerere University from 1999-2002 where he obtained a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts. Most recently he has participated in Circle Modern and Contemporary Art Auction in Nairobi (2015, 2014); Cape Town Art Fair (2015); Kampala Art Biennale (2014) and East African Encounters Exhibition, Circle Art Gallery (2014). His work is also housed in many international private collections.

In this latest series of work, Paul Ndema’s technical proficiency together with his satirical interpretations of religious moral order gives his paintings a unique and playful insight into the meeting of tradition and modernity. His final pieces are the result of his experiences growing up in a Catholic family together with his questioning of the ethics of those in positions of power and influence. His subjects, often self-portraits, are elevated to an iconic status yet compromised by the artist’s use of irony. Ndema places his subjects on colourful, patterned and symbolic backgrounds and his use of light suggests that his subjects are both literally and figuratively in the spotlight

Jackie Karuti was born and based in Nairobi, Kenya, and has in recent years gained positive attention for her experimental, conceptual work using new media.

She explores themes of death, sexuality, space and urban culture using installation, video and performance art as well as mixed media work. She has also collaborated with other artists in various film, photography and academic projects.

Karuti has exhibited and participated in workshops and residencies in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands, Uganda, the UK and the USA. She has been an artist in residence at 32° East in Kampala, The Bag Factory in Johannesburg and the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos. She is currently undertaking a three month residency at Gasworks in London in 2016.