Les Fantomes: Aboudia | Afedzi Hughes | Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou | Bandoma | Paa Joe | Hamidou Maiga

22 September - 29 October 2011

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou shoots traditional vodou rituals, rites, ceremonies, and festivals local to Benin, West Africa. His vibrant daylight images present masquerade as a complex, mysterious and profound tradition in which participants transcend the physical world and enter the spiritual realm.


Aboudia is noted for his large-scale, heavily layered, brutally energetic paintings that combine an innocence and spontaneity with the portrayal of a dark interior world. His urban landscapes are haunted by armed soldiers, ominous skulls and a populace hemmed in by violence and danger. While the vitality of his style recalls Basquiat, the darker undercurrents and themes describe a battlefield straight out of Goya. Aboudia was born in 1983 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where he lives and works.


Hamidou Maiga's distinctive outdoor studio portraits eloquently portray Malian society in its era of transition from a cosmopolitan French colony to an independent African nation. Balancing a strict sense of formality with a remarkable level of intimacy with his subjects, Maiga evokes stylistic traits simultaneously mastered by Irving Penn in the seminal Worlds in a Small Room. Born in 1932, Maiga continues to work between Bamako and Timbuktu.


Paa Joe blurs the line between art and craft, sculpting coffins to reflect the ambition or the trade of the person for whom it was made. They are not dead things but are instead a manifestation and affirmation of life. They link back to pre-colonial West African sculpture but also recall the contemporary Western art practice of Jeff Koons. Paa Joe was born in 1945 in the Akwapim hills north-east of Accra, Ghana. The foremost sculpted coffin maker of his generation, Paa Joe's work is on permanent display at the British Museum and currently being exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.


Bandoma uses watercolour, ink and clippings from contemporary glossy publications to produce a series of genetic mutations, often fragile, funny and at times grotesque. His work interrogates globalization, materiality and postcolonial identity. Bandoma was born in 1981 in Kinshasa, DR Congo.


The paintings of Afedzi Hughes draw parallels between violent colonial histories and contemporary social conflicts. Signage, symbols and text often combine to create tensions between seemingly unrelated forms. Hughes was born in 1962 in Accra, Ghana and has exhibited widely in Europe and the USA where he now lives and works.