Review by Paul McKensie
In a recent visit with artist, Eyenga Bokamba, I learned that there is always more than meets the eye. This winsome, graceful woman is a composite of academic, community organizer, educator, actress, writer and most of all – Artist. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her art, and the sense that the story behind each piece is a very important one.
While in her studios, she “talked me through” her displayed works. Of particular interest to me was her “More Freedom Series” that will be showing at the National Association of Women Artists Gallery in New York June 6 – July 5.
The show combines her use of photography and calligraphy ink on watercolor paper, a “Great Migration “diptych with watercolor paint and calligraphy ink on canvas, and paint on silk shown over light boxes – a most unique assemblage.
I am especially engaged by the 16 (or so) pieces on watercolor paper. The use of calligraphy ink is quite skillful and gives a translucent – watercolor-ish-treatment. It is in these pieces, the “Freedom” pieces, that I find this multi-faceted artist speaking most clearly. Besides their beauty, they also beg to be noticed and pondered. The pastel treatment of the canvas diptych I find to be less assertive but no less meaningful. Eyenga tends toward a pastel treatment, when a broader pallet might serve this piece better. I am also looking forward to seeing the entire assemblage complete with light boxes.
In our talk, we found a commonality with the use of text in helping to define her art. “The titles matter” might be her mantra. It is with these words that the art can be experienced with a clearer view of the intended meaning. After all, meaning is what drives Eyenga’s work. I highly recommend this show to those who love truth and beauty, and most of all – meaning.
Fireside Gallery, Hopkins, Minnesota
May 15, 2018
National Association of Women Artists, Inc.
What will I do with all this freedom?
June 6-July 5, 2018
Reception: Thursday, June 7, 2018, 5-7:30pm
Eyenga Bokamba is an artist whose abstract paintings and installation art express a rare and translucent beauty. From June 6 to July 5, 2018, The National Association of Women Artists (NAWA) is honored to present "What will I do with all this freedom?", an exhibit of solo works that serve as a celebration of the self and the other-whether that other is an idea, a person, or a galaxy. "My greatest desire," says the artist, "is to create work that advances our collective consciousness about what it means to be alive, thriving, and empathetic in today's world."
The artist addresses this quandary through the creation of complex, large-scale work, one of which will be on view at the NAWA Gallery. "The Great Migration" is a pastel-hued diptych painting that the artist created as an acknowledgment of the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who have suffered the tyranny of displacement. Such transcendent works honor her own ancestors crossing the Iberian Peninsula, the Mississippi Delta, the Congo River basin and the Amazonian rainforest. The artist "strives to invite, through luminous, atmospheric beauty, the generous reconsideration of the expansion of possibilities for all people." Toward that objective, the exhibit will feature a series of layered lightboxes made of paintings rendered on plexiglass and silk, illuminating the incomparable beauty she sees in all of us.
A resident of Minneapolis, MN, where she is the founder of Future Tense Gallery, Bokamba holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Minnesota and a Masters in Education from the Arts in Education Program at Harvard University. The artist is a finalist for the 2018 international artist residency in Pennabilli, located in the picturesque Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Her work has been exhibited in Boston, Minneapolis, New York, and Milwaukee, as well as in Miami in 2018 during Art Basel.
Founded in 1889, NAWA is the first, and foremost association of women artists to promote public awareness of, and interest in, visual art created by women in the United States. We look forward to welcoming this brilliant and transformative artist to our gallery in the heart of the bustling Garment District. A reception will be held Thursday, June 7, from 5 to 7:30 pm and offers the visitor a rare opportunity to meet the artist in person.
NAWA Gallery is located at 315 West 39th Street, Suite 508, New York, NY 10018.
212-675-1616 | www.thenawa.org | Tuesday-Friday, 10am-5pm