Joy Labinjo inaugurates Tiwani Contemporary
Joy Labinjo has the honour of being the first exhibition at Tiwani Contemporary Cork Street. The gallery, at number 24, expands on a presence in Lagos (since 2022), and represents a significant milestone for Tiwani, foregrounding the gallery’s plans for the next ten years and beyond. Designed by London-based architectural studio MATHESON WHITELEY, Lagos is represented through interiors and furnishings by designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello, while the building itself is by Graham Stirk.
This inaugural presentation of Labinjo’s new body of work, titled ‘Beloved, Take What You Need’, focuses on everyday Black life, and reflects the personal and professional changes Labinjo has been through in the five years since Tiwani Contemporary first presented her work. Featuring intimate scenes, and exploring themes of love, relationships, and family dynamics, Labinjo’s large-scale figurative paintings present fresh and arresting compositions of colour and explore multiple modes of representation including abstraction, naturalism, and flatness. Drawing inspiration from found images and her own personal photographs, the suite of paintings demonstrate Joy Labinjo’s maturing practice.
The subjects of these paintings, both real and imagined, are lively groups of friends and family at leisure, enjoying the simple pleasure of being in each other’s company. Together, the paintings explore the experience of communing: From a group of men at a barbershop, to children playing together, to friends swimming in nature. While the paintings depict a range of disparate scenarios, the subject matter is unified by each individual painting’s relationship to the exhibition’s title, and the artist’s practice of working on several paintings at the same time. For Labinjo, the paintings she is drawn to when she gets to the studio each day reflect what she instinctively needs to nourish her at that moment in time and the kind of intimacy she is craving. ‘Beloved, Take What You Need’ is Labinjo speaking to herself, and to anyone that feels the same as she.
Heralding a hugely exciting new era for British-Nigerian painter, the solo exhibition takes place alongside Labinjo’s participation in three important institutional shows this autumn: ‘Real Families: Stories of Change’ at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, ‘Au Bout des mes rêves: Vanhaerents Art Collection’ at Lille 3000 (Lille), and ‘Africa Supernova’ at Kunsthal KaDE in The Netherlands.
The exhibition is followed by Miranda Forrester’s first solo showing at the gallery, running 23 November until 6 January 2024. Titled ‘Arrival’, the presentation focuses on domestic intimacy, the anticipation of Forrester’s new-born baby, and growth of family – insights of her experience of the path to parenthood while being in a queer partnership.
Joy Labinjo: ‘Beloved, Take What You Need’ continues until 11 November 2023 at 24 Cork Street, Mayfair.