Adejoke Tugbiyele – Live Performance (feat. music by Daniel “Stompie” Selibe)

The Melrose Gallery, Johannesburg
22 Aug 2019 - 22 Aug 2019



One may consider Eastern philosophy of the ‘Yin-Yang’ while also appreciating the universality of light within Western and African contexts.  In the latter and socio-politically speaking, load-shedding in places like South Africa or the far cry of NEPA! in Nigeria, engages us in discourse around the condition of ‘darkness’ often experienced by the poor black majority.  Africa, falsely and historically deemed “The Dark Continent” continues to shed light on the incredible magic of people, places, resources and ancestral legacies. Still learning to shed that which we have been taught deemed “backwards or demonic,” we increasingly find light in the magically strange – the intuitive - the hybrid – the alien, who appears completely from another world - past, future or both

Made of grass brooms (Umchayelo), Tugbiyele builds on the legacy of broom-makers whose creative production not only balances the natural environment, but also serves as a means of economic empowerment for black women, their families and communities. Little known to the world is that the broom itself acts as an agent of ‘cleansing’ away of evil spirits in Limpopo – Soweto - movement and sound, the objects are transformed into superpowers which work to negate all prejudices and forms of discrimination such as racism, sexism, and homophobia.  It cleanses our space and spirits of negative energy/forces - or ase, in Yoruba.  Adejoke explores African Diasporic and Pan-African connections formally and materially - the broom functions poetically reflecting the Yoruba concept of ‘oriki’ – praise poetry – firmly understood culturally & historically as rooted in Yoruba aesthetics. Rowland Abiodun states in his book “Yoruba Art & Language”, “Oriki affirms the identity of almost everything in existence – Oriki extends beyond our traditional categories of two – and three – dimensional acts and color. They include architectural space, dress, music, dance, the performed word, mime, ritual, food and smell, engaging virtually all the senses. More important, oriki energize, prepare, and summon their subject into action.”

Daniel “Stompie” Selibe expresses in his statement “Recycling Sounds” –

 “I perceive my work as a means of making music with all what I feel around me, and as an avenue of communicating sounds with my deepest self.  This process generates a spontaneity and fearlessness of the thrill and excitement of facing the unknown, of exploration and adventure.  I believe that in playing, making art is an unending personal quest to find and liberate ones most hidden inner self…

“When we are dealing with sounds and visions we are in the midst of the sacred self.  We are involved with forces and energies larger than our own.  We are engaged in a sacred transaction of which we know only a little, the shadow not the shape.  We invoke the great creator when we invoke our own creativity and those creative forces have the power to alter lives, fulfil destinies and answer our dreams in our human lives.”

In addition to the Eagle’s spiritual function within Sangoma rites often depicted on Iqhiya fabric, native to South Africa is the Black Eagle (Verreaux) which lends local and powerful context to the work – a powerful bird which with feathers full to the bottom covering the tarsus (legs). With the costume ‘Eagle’ Adejoke’s sculpture practice comes full circle. Having produced her first prominent figure out of brooms - “Flight to Revelation” in 2011, “Flight to Revelation II” then “Water Go Find Enemy” in (the winged-creature) 2013, which doubled as costume in the video “Afro Odyssey IV: 100 Years Later” (2014), and leading up to “Shifting The Waves” a live solo performance at Somerset house, during 1:54 – Contemporary African Art Fair (2017) – London. The notion of ‘flight’ and ‘freedom’ is suggested in recent 2019 sculptures such as “Dignity,” “Shrine,” “All My Hearts,” and the mixed media/fabric work “Love Warrior: Eagle.”


Selected Works

Works included in this exhibition

Exhibition views

Some views of the exhibition

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