Efie Gallery, the Dubai-based contemporary art gallery specialising in artists of African origin, presents In the Cool of the Day, an exhibition of new works by Ghanaian artist Yaw Owusu from Wednesday 19 October to Tuesday 20 December 2022.
Curated by London-based art advisor and curator Kami Gahiga, the exhibition displays ten new works developed during the artist’s residency with Efie Gallery in Dubai this July. Shining with intricate metallic elements for which the artist is known, Owusu’s new body of work takes influence from the immersion into UAE culture carried out during his residency. This included time spent with the Emirati community and with local artists such as sculptor Dr Mohamed Yousif, as well as research at cultural institutions such as Sharjah Art Museum, Al Shindagha Museum, Etihad Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Mosque, in collaboration with Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, The Africa Institute and Mid East Art. The new works see Owusu develop his ongoing exploration of coins. By incorporating fils – the Emirati dirham – and US pennies into his signature use of the Ghanaian pesewa, the artist continues to provoke conversation around the shifting and transient nature of value across different economic and cultural contexts.
Works like Power of Imagination, Golden Hour, To Believe, Something from Nothing and Infinity are vibrant, colourful, reflective pieces inspired by the artist’s initial perception of Dubai as a land of abundance, wealth, possibility and futuristic architecture. Going with the Wind, Singing Dunes, In the Cool of Day and Morning Sun reflect the artist’s experiences in Dubai of the desert and of local culture, history and ways of life. The exhibition’s large-scale central piece, Heart of Place, sheds light on the distinctive natures and qualities of the Emirates and embodies the artist’s ability to transform otherwise worthless objects into striking works of value. Born in Kumasi, Ghana, Owusu is known for creating sculptural installations that repurpose found objects and materials like steel, gold, silver, and copper.
The artist employs various natural and chemical treatments, from salt to vinegar, to transform and de-materialise these metals in his process of experimentation. Based between New York and Accra, Owusu was the recipient of the Kuenyehia Art Prize for Contemporary Art in 2018 and is currently an artist- in-residence for the 2022-23 programme of the Institute of Contemporary Art in San Diego. Since its inception in 2021 and the opening of its permanent space in 2022, the Dubai-based Efie Gallery has been establishing itself as a global platform working with some of Africa’s most significant artists, including El Anatsui, Isshaq Ismail and Slawn. Dedicated to the representation and advancement of both established and emerging artists from Africa and the diaspora, Efie Gallery supports the cross-cultural exchange of artist work across the Middle East and beyond. In addition to its roster of wide-ranging artists and exhibitions, Efie Gallery operates a dynamic residency programme that focuses on artist promotion, protection and preservation.