First UK solo show at Firstsite Gallery Colchester
Now open free to the public ( Tuesday - Sunday ) till Sunday 29 October 2023 all are welcome.
The first solo exhibition by the acclaimed British artist EVEWRIGHT, Libation is a collection of seminal works spanning 20 year. It also includes a major new floor drawing artwork from the front to the back of the Firstsite building.
Kissi Penny - Sovereign
Walking Drawings Libation: 13 Dead Nothing Said
Kissi Penny - Sovereign
© EVEWRIGHT. images above. Lightwell 2, The Exchange. ££ Kissi Pennies $$, Lightwell 1, Libation include the screening of Walking Drawings Across the Estuaries. A two channel art and sound installation, featuring Heavy Horses, Coloured People, and sculpture God Save Us and a new film installation Walking Drawings Libation. Gallery 2 features I Can't Breathe, About Face, picture / sound installation Mother's Touch, paintings Zoom Muses and sculptures Heads of State and new film installation Diamond Dance.
Images: Richard Ivey and Lyndon Douglas. All rights reserved 2023.
The show’s title refers to the ritual pouring of liquid (usually alcohol-based) to pay homage to deities, ancestors or relatives who have passed away. Offering a libation was part of ancient Egyptian society and remains prominent in traditional Black and African cultures today not only for funerals but as a celebration of life for unions and weddings.
With his major exhibition at Firstsite, EVEWRIGHT seeks to instigate and broaden conversations about what it means to be Black and British in the UK today, via a series of emotionally charged drawings, sculptures, digital films, photography, and recent performance all of which explore themes of migration, identity, race, class and journeys.
Key works on display at the Colchester gallery will include ££ Kissi Pennies $$, a series of sculptures that echo Benin Bronzes and challenge the notion of value, currency, slavery and trade, while also being inspired by modern day migration and the former West African currency known as Kissi Pennies.
Along with existing work, EVEWRIGHT has been commissioned by Firstsite to produce his first site-specific Walking Drawing artwork that’s been specially conceived to respond to the Firstsite building and the layers of archeology beneath. In the foyer and leading all the way through the vast building into the galleries, visitors will encounter a large floor drawing artwork. Black and bronze paint swept across the floor in abstract patterns and marks will guide visitors through the gallery, echoing and exploring the themes of journeys, movement and migration. This has been filmed and documented in the exhibition as a work in its own right. This unique new piece is displayed in situ during the exhibition period for visitors to enjoy.
As he reflects on this body of work that fill over three of Firstsite’s galleries,
“This exhibition feels like a homecoming. Firstsite showed Mother’s Touch, one of my works, during Covid which was a difficult time in my life when my mother passed away. Now I am having a conversation with my ancestors recent and distant. In fact, Firstsite is built upon archaeological remains of an original Roman city so I am looking down through history conversing also with the Moors and Roman ancestors. Libation is paying homage to all these ancestors. As a descendant of parents from the Windrush generation their influences will continue to resonate in my work, conversations and perception of my place in the world as a Black British Artist”.
Sharing his excitement about Libation, Sally Shaw MBE, Firstsite’s Director comments:
“It is a huge honour to present EVEWRIGHT’s first public solo show and to host this exhibition during the 75thanniversary of Windrush. We have worked with EVEWRIGHT over the past 5 years on a wide range of projects; and after exhibiting his moving work Mother’s Touch in our Art for Life exhibition we wanted to provide a much larger platform which immerses us all in his work and the issues and themes he tackles.
“The artworks in this exhibition are hugely important, raising questions and highlighting issues which are often quickly swept out of sight and forgotten by the mainstream. Here EVEWRIGHT confronts us with imagery, ideas and perspectives which challenge us to question established narratives and examine the hidden and forgotten lived experiences underneath. Whilst difficult subjects are explored, there is also a huge amount of celebration and appreciation of the strength and resolve of past generations, in particular the Windrush generation, creating a powerful mix of emotions. Libation helps us all to explore individual and collective identities and histories to ultimately discover what unites us, how we can strengthen our connections and the actions we all need to take to make space for everyone to thrive in our society.”