Horniman Museum, London
17 October 2020-21 September 2021
Opening in Black History Month, and, in 2020, marking the 60th anniversary of Nigerian Independence on 1 October, Hamed Maiye and Adama Jalloh's 'An Ode to Afrosurrealism' is a provocative exploration of the intersections of spiritualism, mythology, and surrealism, uniquely expressed 'through a Black British lens.' Ambitiously, 'An Ode to Afrosurrealism' inhabits a contemporary temporal setting while also placing its portraiture within surrealist scenes. Maiye and Jalloh explore the 'reality of now' through the otherworldly qualities of Afrosurrealism, defined as a 'visual and literary movement that uses the surreal and otherworldly to visualise the present.'
Jalloh describes his approach as a response to the 'history of our stories being told for us.' For Jalloh, Afrosurrealism 'feels like another way to combat that but also giving freedom in a broader way on how we choose to display our narratives.' (1) In a Britain, where narratives have been retrofitted and distorted in the pursuit of a political agenda--most recently in the case of the widely criticised 2021 UK Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report which caused headlines earlier this year--Jalloh's ambition to reclaim lost narratives is an important one. 'An Ode to Afrosurrealism' presents an alternative visual exploration of reality that attempts to counter false or misrepresented narratives and challenge incorrect assumptions about other cultures.
The motif of duality recurs in...