Michael Armitage Amongst the Living, with Seyni Awa Camara

Michael Armitage,White Cube Bermondsey Street

White Cube Bermondsey presents ‘Amongst the Living’, an exhibition of works by Michael Armitage alongside sculptures by Seyni Awa Camara.

Following Armitage’s recent show at Kunsthalle Basel, ‘You, Who Are Still Alive’, this exhibition features recent paintings and works on paper produced during the past three years in London and Nairobi. Having admired the work of Senegalese artist Seyni Awa Camara over many years, Armitage has included a group of Camara’s terracotta sculptures in this, the first major presentation of her work in the UK.

Set within East Africa, Armitage weaves narratives drawn from literature, film, politics, history and myth. The subjects for these new paintings are drawn from a wide range of sources, reimagined with a sensibility that might be likened to magic realism. Whether painted outdoors in Kenya or in Armitage’s London studio, his landscape, or urban vistas, collide timescales – compressing past and present, the real and imagined. Multiple viewpoints, superimpositions of outlines and figures, saturated and vaporous swathes of vivid colour and passages of translucent wash create a dense pictorial language in which materiality and form effortlessly meld, where subject and subtext have equal status and thematic power.

Seyni Awa Camara

Now in her eighties, Seyni Awa Camara lives and works in the Casamancian village of Bignona, Senegal, where she was born. Initiated into the traditional techniques of ceramics by her mother when she was a child, Camara’s own practice quickly moved away from the utilitarian to the artistic, in visions guided by what she terms as gifts. Talking about herself and her two brothers, Camara has said: ‘We were sheltered by God’s spirits, who taught us to work with clay.’

Camara has evolved her own distinct and expressive form of sculpture – a profoundly mystical practice which sees her creating sculptures that range in size from just over twenty inches to a more totemic scale of seven or eight feet tall. Modelled by hand, the sculptures are fired on a wooden pyre in a yard in front of the artist’s house, sometimes adding ore or treating the clay with putrefied tree pods to create a burnished finish to the terracotta. Like Armitage’s use of Lubugo, Camara works with the most natural media − earth itself, dug, sifted and mixed into a clay.

Duration 21 September 2022 - 30 October 2022
Times Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 6pm Sunday 12pm – 6pm
Cost free
Venue White Cube - Bermondsey Street
Address 144 – 152 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3TQ
Contact / enquiries@whitecube.com / http://whitecube.com/