Abdoulaye Konaté, Barthélemy Toguo, Ronald Muchatuta & Turiya Magadlela – Shades of Human Nature

27 October 2021 – 22 January 2021

How do you paint human nature? What spectrum of colours, colourisms, and codes create a cacophony, or symphony, through composition? Bloom Galerie’s first group exhibition Shades of Human Nature: Storytelling Through Resilient Colour poses these questions through recent works by four distinct artists: Abdoulaye Konaté, Turiya Magadlela, Ronald Muchatuta and Barthélemy Toguo.

From global identity politics and cultural displacement to origin theories and the radical power of joy,

the aesthetic explorations of human nature across the series featured communicates a harmonious dissonance of the spiritual and modern. Colour resiliently tells stories through diverse, interwoven materials, elements, and icons stemming from everyday live: Konaté’s Malian dyed fabrics, Magadlela’s stretched pantyhose, Muchatuta’s mixed media collages, and Toguo’s watery dreamscapes of acrylic, ink, and pigment.

In these worlds, human nature is addressed through humanism, philosophy, cosmology, and colour, creating a fluid space where magic meets reality and the psychological clashes with the imaginary. Painting through the shades and shapes of colour serves not only as a narrative lexicon, but also an exercise of freedom in the face of no control. With art historical influences ranging from African belief systems to global art historical movements, languages of representation are referenced and extended, including Cubism, Negritude, Surrealism, The African Renaissance, Minimalism, and more. The artworks collectively serve as an enduring legacy of consciousness – a collation of ancient and modern modes of expression whereby the ethical beams out of the aesthetic. Each colour: its line, shape, opacity, weight ­­– carries a distinct feeling and ecosystem of meanings. From the artist’s unique visual language to our own internal narratives, each storyboard relies deeply on process. Creativity and criticality aren’t ever fully premeditated, for there is self-reliance on human nature itself. By embracing where the local meets global, fissures of figurative and abstract expressions collide, creating an endless continuum of colours and a syncretism of shades, whereby the artist’s each trust in their instincts to communicate and make space for the interpretations and agency of us all.