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Rising artists John Madu & Ousmane Niang are Figures of Power

In their new Paris based exhibition, Figures of Power, the African artists invite their audience to consider new power dynamics and affirm their own identities

By Amy Saunders  | July 19, 2021 | Category

Picture: John Madu - The Kiss
Picture: John Madu - The Kiss

Picture: John Madu - The Kiss

AFIKARIS Gallery recently unveiled the joint exhibition, Figures of Power, by Nigerian artist John Madu and Senegalese artist, Ousmane Niang at their new art gallery in Paris.

AFIKARIS Gallery was founded by Florian Azzopardi in 2018 and started as an online gallery showcasing the work of emerging and established artists from Africa and its diaspora. They have now opened a dedicated gallery space for this purpose in Paris.

Figures of Power, which runs until August 14th 2021, features over 20 new works from the artists. The exhibition addresses notions of power and domination as they unfold through gender and political dynamics. In their artwork, each artist boldly expresses their unique views on these topics.

Picture: John Madu - A song for Maness

John Madu is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Lagos. He is a self-taught artist and has a degree in Policy and Strategic Studies. Through his figurative and symbolic acrylic paintings, he discusses questions of identity, social behaviours and the effects of cultural globalization on individualism.

Picture: John Madu - Charles's party

“My art is infused by strong figures that have marked my personal life, and vision of it. Being faced with the many realities and endless conceptions of identity, I seek to blur the set distinctions, in particular as they apply to gender. By switching or reframing gender roles, I play with their symbolic power, and the symbolism of the power they exert.”

Picture: John Madu - Sunflowers and a man

John’s work has been presented in numerous international exhibitions, including in Lagos, London, New York, and Shanghai. Figures of Power is his first major exhibition in France.

Picture: John Madu - Make love on the beach

Ousmane Niang is an emerging Senegalese visual artist who lives and works in Dakar. He is a graduate of the National School of Arts in Dakar and he works primarily with acrylic in his paintings that are deeply influenced by pointillism and depict scenes of daily life.

Ousmane’s art addresses notions of power and the fragility of social beings in the face of domination, freedom, tyranny, sharing, traditions, technologies, and family life. Ousmane’s works have been showcased across numerous Senegalese institutions (Institut Français de Dakar; Galerie Nationale de Dakar; Biennale de Dakar) and at international art fairs including AKAA (Paris) and 1-54 (London; New York). Figures of Power is his first major exhibition in France.

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