The experience of communing featured in Joy Labinjo's 'Beloved, Take What You Need'

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The experience of communing featured in Joy Labinjo's 'Beloved, Take What You Need'
Joy Labinjo, Enjoyment. Oil on Canvas, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Tiwani Contemporary.

LONDON.- Tiwani Contemporary has opened Joy Labinjo: Beloved, Take What You Need, the gallery's inaugural exhibition at its 24 Cork Street, Mayfair gallery. This new body of work 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 children playing together, to friends swimming in nature, to intergenerational family moments. 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.

Joy Labinjo: Beloved, Take What You Need heralds a hugely exciting new era for the 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 (6 October 2023 - 7 January 2024), Au Bout des mes rêves: Vanhaerents Art Collection at Lille 3000 (Lille, 6 October 2023 - 14 January 2024), and Africa Supernova at Kunsthal KaDE in The Netherlands (24 September 2023 - 7 January 2024).

Joy Labinjo’s large-scale figurative paintings often depict intimate scenes of historical and contemporary life, both real and imagined and often based on figures appearing in personal and archival imagery that include family photographs, found images and historical material. In the past, she has explored themes including but not limited to identity, political voice, power, Blackness, race, history, community and family and their role in contemporary experience.

Her work presents fresh and arresting compositions of colour, pattern and motifs: key signatures of Labinjo’s work. Fundamentally, at the heart of Labinjo’s practice is a bold interest in storytelling and ultimately, people’s lives. Exploring multiple modes of representation including abstraction, naturalism, flatness and graphic patterns, Labinjo’s ‘collage aesthetic’ comprises an eclectic visual vocabulary and mixed painterly techniques which echo her experience of multiple identities – growing up Black, British, Nigerian in the 90s and early 00s.

Labinjo was awarded the Woon Art Prize in 2017. Her acclaimed commission for the Brixton Underground Station in London, UK, 5 more minutes, was on view throughout November 2022. Recent exhibitions include: Zeitz MOCAA, South Africa (group - 2022); Women's Art Collection, Cambridge, UK (group -2022); Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, UK (2022), Tiwani Contemporary, Lagos, Nigeria (2022), Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL), Marrakech, Morocco (2021), Royal Academy, London, UK (2020), The Breeder Gallery, Athens, Greece (2020), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2019); Bloc Projects, Sheffield, UK (2019); Tiwani Contemporary, London, UK, (2018); Gallery North, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2018); Cafe Gallery Projects, London, UK (2018); Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, UK (2018); Goldtapped, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2018); Morley Gallery, London, UK (2018); Baltic 39, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2017); Hoxton Arches, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2017); The Holy Biscuit, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2017); FishBowl space, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (2015); XL Gallery, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK (2013).

Tiwani Contemporary
Joy Labinjo: Beloved, Take What You Need
October 12th, 2023 - November 11th, 2023

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