'The Presence of the Holy Spirit' 2021. Acrylic and silk screen print on canvas 47.25" × 55.1". Courtesy of Boris Anje and Thinkspace Projects

Now on View @ Thinkspace Projects

November 19, 2021

Thinkspace Projects offered an exciting medley of African Artists who are extending the bounds of a perceptive intensity with their paintings and drawings. Messrs. Boris Anje, Jimbo Lateef, and Oscar Joyo, share their own truths in acrylic, a medium which enables greater latitude in the generation of each of their moral ideas. We have a range of ideas which encompass the West African experience, but reach their zeniths by contemplating ideas which are universally human, which is in finding favor in being alive.

 

‘Entanglements III’ 2021. Acrylic and silk screen print on canvas
47.25″ × 59″. Courtesy of the Boris Anje and Thinkspace Projects.

 

In the instance of Mr. Anje, he affirms the conflicting tension of the West African who is now being introduced to global market capitalism and its merchandising inundation, which has flooded the Western European for close to two centuries now. The bounty of temporal goodliness that is now within the aspiring reach of his fellow African causes a noticeable confrontation between the spiritual character of the African people’s and what crudely reduces to the natural promotion of human life appearing in luxury wares which signify an arrival to a higher state of being. The Presence of the Holy Spirit (2021) captures this spiritual crisis most poignantly, as the role of the Kingdom of Heaven is being rudely interrupted by luxury retailers and their advertisements promulgating the delusion of their goods as the summum bonum in being human. That is, the physical significance of one’s place in relation to other humans is of the only significance to being alive.

 

‘The Presence of the Holy Spirit’ 2021. Acrylic and silk screen print on canvas
47.25″ × 55.1″. Courtesy of Boris Anje and Thinkspace Projects

This is a challenging paradox within the state of humanity, as being social creatures is necessary for us to extend our collective possibilities of being alive. And yet, is the purpose of such extensiveness to collect perfumes or other goods whose durability can be counted in years, or decades if one is lucky, and not centuries or millennia? Mr. Anje captures the absurdity in its fullest, now arriving onto Cameroonian shores with his Christ-esque figure with the umbrage of a crown of thorns surrounded by a universe of temporary messages, confusing the soul on what is the righteous providential path one must follow. The danger is in neglecting the presence of the soul and its eternal voyage through the cosmos and instead opting for the world of the city of man and its material contests. Far easier said than done when death is so present in the mind, it causes an anxiety in how to move best, with the election for social gratification as the securest method for knowing happiness – perhaps at the cost of the well-being of others. It is here where the African soul has the privilege of learning from the poor decisions of the European continent in choosing money over love as its populations have stagnated and are in decline in the wake of the merchandising boom which prizes self-seeking over selfless ethics with no immediate rewards in time.

 

‘Shades of Feelings III’ 2021. Acrylic on paper
Framed with museum glass / 16×20 inches framed dimensions
12″ × 15.75″. Courtesy of Jimbo Lateef and Thinkspace Projects

‘Shades of Feeling XIII’ 2021. Acrylic on paper. Framed with museum glass / 16×20 inches framed dimensions
12″ × 15.75″. Courtesy of Jimbo Lateef & Thinkspace Projects.

Jimbo Lateef, another West African, introduces us to a gentle dream of a calligraphical style which positively softens any sore eyes in his Shades of Feelings. His blues present us brushstroke forms which harmoniously massage curvilinear contours around figurative emotional states. And these states are astutely painted with an ideal composition size, to invite us from a distance to gaze at the forms more intimately, allowing us to take in the feelings at a higher resolution of private joy. Notice the feelings emotionalized are consistent with our thoughts of these blues: solemn, resigned, sober, if not austerely melancholic. Thus, the original style embellishes what would otherwise be depressive portraitures.

 

“Home_Body” 2021. Acrylic, resin, and aerosol on panel
20″ × 20″ in. Courtesy of Oscar Joyo and Thinkspace Projects.

Last and not least, Oscar Joyo presents us with his Home Body, a continuation of a narrative of an African-American female character expressing herself with the punctuation of bombastic colors which provide an electric punch to the senses. The unabashed coloration demands, serendipitously, the contrast of African skin with the lusciousness unfolded, with succulent summertime colors enlivening each modest canvas and their original geometrical shapes. Eclipse and Home_Body demonstrate this effect most illustriously, with the dark pigments bringing forward by necessity the brightness of reddish hues and yellow exes jostling the senses, but festively. This is work which is a celebration of living for its very sake, so far removed from racial tensions and instead expressing a yea to the human condition, irrespective of the flesh the human spirit is guiding.

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