Peres Projects is proud to present Studio Ekwe’s, Ajarb Bernard Ategwa’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition consists of a new series of portrait based works and the title of the exhibition references the photo studio beside the house that the artist grew up in. The portraits in this exhibition straddle two temporalities – referencing the black and white studio portraiture popular across countries in post-independence Africa, as well as a contemporary selfie culture.
In both cases, the camera that Ategwa imagines is a technology that marks ascendance, status, abundance. The artist demonstrates that to pose for a camera is to control your own image, to know what part of yourself to project, to know what to be proud of. That celebratory energy is channeled by Ategwa through these new paintings. The documentation of a life, is also to be seen. Evident in these portraits is the post-colonial shift away from the ethnographic view of “Africa”, towards a reclamation of the camera as a tool for the affirmation of the self.