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With Opened Mouths is an exhibition of traditional West African masks, face coverings, hoods, helmets and crests from the Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection. Remixed with contemporary work by Oluseye, With Opened Mouths interrogates the authority of the museum and its outmoded colonial practices by creating vital and embodied ways of working with/in collections.
Oluseye, Eminado #146, 2019 and 2020, found rubber and object assemblage. Photo: Courtesy of Patel Brown Gallery and the Artist
Oluseye, Eminado #200, 2019 and 2020, found rubber and object assemblage. Photo: Courtesy of Patel Brown Gallery and the Artist
The Atlantic Ocean is the canvas of With Opened Mouths. This body of water carried the masks to this continent from their place of origin but it is also their last memory of home. In his Eminado series, Oluseye makes history personal by imagining the Talisman an individual might have carried on the journey. He looks at the ways in which blackness moves across space, place, and time, shaping and shifting in the world.
The exhibition is a performative engagement with absence and a space to open incipient dialogues between these masks and contemporary art produced by an artist residing in Turtle Island, from the African diaspora. With Opened Mouths speaks the language of refusal, but intonates possibilities for new affinities and new sounds of potential.