The practices of the artists Sabelo Mlangeni, Sara Haq and Temitayo Ogunbiyi all revolve around questions of safety within public and private space. Working in disparate mediums of photography, drawing, and sculpture, the artists present how such safety enables greater possibilities of vulnerability and risk. In conversation with the two curators of the exhibition, the artists talk about how questions of play, safety, risk and vulnerability interweave and inform their practices, and in particular in the series-based works that they present in the exhibition ‘While we are embattled’ currently on view at Para Site.
About the artists
Sara Haq (b. 1976, United Kingdom) is a multidisciplinary artist, sacred medicine practitioner, and writer based in London. The focus of her practice journeying into consciousness and healing, explores psychological, emotional, physical and metaphysical unravelling. For the exhibition While we are embattled, Haq presents 7 works from a watercolour series titled Have you ever heard a blueberry scream? They were made during the lockdowns of 2020, and began as an exploration of dense emotional and interior states that can envelop a psyche under the duress of isolation in actively sitting with the legacies of trauma, but also show how such darkness can prove to be fertile ground for both personal and collective transformation.
Sabelo Mlangeni (b. 1980, South Africa) is a photographer who lives and works between Johannesburg and Paris, France. For the exhibition held at Para Site, he shares his series of photographs titled The Royal House of Allure, which captures the intimacy, conviviality, and camaraderie held within this safe House in Lagos which provides emergency boarding and support for queer community members in need. Driven by an ongoing interest in notions of community and communing, Mlangeni focuses on capturing the bonds that exist among his subjects, and their methods of self expression and self representation.
Temitayo Ogunbiyi (b. 1984, United States) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Lagos, Nigeria. Her art explores the relationship between the environment, line, and representation, focused primarily through the vector of ludic play, via interactive, sustainable play structures that she designs and builds. Part of a larger series of works entitled You Will (that started in 2016), the small-scale mixed media sculptures selected for the exhibition reveal the politically productive valences of ludic play by connecting sites of play with the cultural concerns of Victorian and Yoruba hair styling techniques and Isamu Noguchi’s modernist playgrounds, with the real politics of migration routes, digital maps, and surveillance.