“The starting point of this body of works are photographs of people in their daily life the artist took while staying in the beach town of Grand Bassam, several times during 2016 and 2017. This is a place where the inhabitants of the sprawling city of Abidjan go to relax, but was also the location of a horrifyingly violent terrorist attack in March 2016. Choumali decided to print a selection of the photographs, each on a canvas of 24 x 24cm, the exact size of the DIY embroidery frame she worked on as a child. The canvases were a fixed part of her life for a year; she took them everywhere, embroidering whenever she could. The time it takes to work on them, an allegory of the time needed to heal, contradicts the speed with which any photograph can be taken on any phone nowadays or the speed with which news is replaced, leaving old news fast ignored. The empathetic link that the thread represents belies the fact that, for the first time in her practice, the artist did not initially communicate with the people as she photographed them quietly going about their day. It interrogates the compulsory and cheery Ca Va Aller (‘It’s going to be fine’), a stiff- upper- lip attitude with which many societies, including Coted Ivoire’s, deal with mental entrapments and #trauma. Once again Choumali boldly addresses a deep taboo with the tact and nuance that has made her work so compelling to a universal audience.”
-50 Golborne Art
Work By: Joana Choumali
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