Mame-Diarra Niang: Call Me When You Get There

Mame-Diarra Niang: Call Me When You Get There

Running presently at Stevenson Cape Town is Call Me When You Get There by Mame-Diarra Niang, her second solo exhibition with the gallery. Through the presentation of 52 intimate works, Niang presents a wandering of the mind, in the frame of her long-term preoccupation with the plasticity of territory. The exhibition is on view at the gallery and online – click here to view presentation.

The series emerged during lockdown isolation, from a desire to exercise freedom of movement and to overcome psychological and physical boundaries with the support of technology. In the artist’s words:

How can we lose sight of ourselves when we are motionless, compartmentalised within our own bodies, confined?
From where I am I can no longer see the horizon. I have no perspective.
I have a blank mind, I can’t even create anymore. All I need is to travel … and see a world that I can only experience through the screen of my iMac.
Never mind! Seen from here, Google Maps is a memory system, a guide that can help me recognise again who I am.

The territory as a constantly evolving and shifting entity is at the root of Niang’s work. In Call Me When You Get There the artist returns to the practice of map-making as a way to situate the self and create new paths of memory and awareness. The everyday scenes are presented as elements of a puzzle in a ‘third dimension’, with duplicated figures melting into distorted backgrounds, architectural structures stretched beyond form, and cars flattened and misshapen. The exploration is virtual in its modalities but nonetheless very real in the impact it produces. Niang states:

The brain does not perceive the difference between what is real, virtual or imaginary.
There, I am finally freed from my shackles; it is strange because I am there and elsewhere … in a fantastic world, a liberating dream.
The act of looking never made as much sense as it does now.

Call Me When You Get There shifts our perception, inviting us to surrender to being lost in order to find ourselves again.

Mame-Diarra Niang: Call Me When You Get There runs until 5 December 2020 at Stevenson Cape Town.

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