Art Cologne 2023

About the fair

16-19 November, 2023

Hall 11.2, Koelnmesse GmbH, Messeplatz 1, 50679, Cologne, Germany

Stand A125

Cologne—Pearl Lam Galleries is delighted to announce its participation in the 56th edition of Art Cologne. On view is a diverse range of artistic practices and perspectives, offering a compelling exploration of contemporary African art. Through this showcase, the gallery aims to foster cross-cultural dialogue and shed light on the vibrant artistic landscape of the African continent. Exhibiting artists include Alimi Adewale (b. 1974, Nigeria), Samson Akinnire (b. 1986, Nigeria), Duke Asidere (b. 1961, Nigeria), Isshaq Ismail (b. 1989, Ghana), Rufus Ogundele (1946–1996, Nigeria), Babajide Olatunji (b. 1989, Nigeria), Anya Paintsil (b.1993, Wales), and Deborah Segun (b. 1994, Nigeria). 

Through the mediums of painting, and sculpture, Alimi Adewale brings to the forefront the diverse narratives, vibrant traditions, and rich heritage of Africa. The series Masked Legacies brings African masks to life on Kilim rugs, resonating with their historical and ritual significance. These masks have long fascinated artists and scholars, influencing the development of Cubism and Fauvism in Western art through their bold forms and abstract qualities. 

Samson Akinnire’s art offers a subliminal glimpse of the unseen through the interplay of waste and wealth. His work draws viewers into the process of creation, combining dimensionality, space, and beauty to evoke a timeless sense of constraint and boundlessness. Akinnire’s prolific artistic production spans abstraction, realism, portraiture, post-impressionism, and installation, employing techniques such as modelling, casting, painting, sewing, and more. 

Influenced by his upbringing with a sailor father and a dedicated trader mother, Duke Asidere draws inspiration from the time he spent alone with his mother, which serves as a focal point for his art. The artist’s passion for art was nurtured from a young age through drawing superheroes at home and in school. Notably, his work often centres around the female form, symbolising strength and resilience. His paintings embody his personal struggles and represent a source of power and pure energy in his life.

Describing his portraits as “infantile semi-abstraction”, Isshaq Ismail’s artistic practice aims to reduce the human figure to its most basic characteristics. Thick patches of bold colours dominate the surface of the canvas. Land of Hope questions the audience’s expectation of figurative depiction and instead creates the impression of a parallel world peopled with grotesque creatures both similar to human beings but different in appearance.

Rufus Ogundele was a prominent artist whose creative journey spanned the 19th century, leaving a lasting impact on the world of art. He initially ventured into the arts as a musician and actor in Duro Ladipo’s renowned travelling theatre company, where he performed alongside Twins77 and Muraina Oyelami. Ogundele’s untimely passing at the age of fifty was deeply mourned by the art world, as his vibrant works celebrated the rich tapestry of Yoruba life and culture, infused with the dynamic energies of the human experience.

The series Tribal Marks is a collection of hyperrealist portraits born from the vibrant imagination of Babajide Olatunji. Within these paintings, Olatunji skilfully combines his meticulous ethnographic research into the ancient tradition of facial scarification, prevalent in various Nigerian tribes, with his profound understanding and imaginative vision. Through his artistic prowess, he breathes life into the identities of the individuals adorned with these marks, resulting in captivating storytelling and an aura of mystique. 

Anya Paintsil is a London-based textile artist of Welsh and Ghanaian descent. Combining traditional hand rug making techniques with Afro hair styling methods, Paintsil’s practice is largely autobiographical, taking inspiration from her childhood, family stories, and Welsh and Ghanaian mythologies, while exploring identity, gendered labour and seeking to promote artistic practices historically devalued due to their associations with femininity and other marginalised groups.

Deborah Segun’s paintings can be described as a fusion of Cubism and abstraction. She embraces a playful and purist approach, prioritising form over intricate details, and explores diverse artistic mediums. Her works primarily revolve around figurative representations, with a particular emphasis on portraiture. The inspiration for her creations derives from her personal experiences as a woman, as well as her observations of the spaces she occupies.

Founder Pearl Lam states, “Pearl Lam Galleries is committed to promoting cultural exchange and fostering a deeper understanding of diverse artistic practices. By participating in Art Cologne and showcasing African artists, the gallery aims to challenge preconceived notions and redefine the narrative surrounding African art. This year serves as a testament to the gallery’s dedication to nurturing emerging talent and supporting artists from underrepresented regions.”