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John Hansard Gallery presents: Billie Zangewa – “A Quiet Fire” and Ayo Akingbade – “Show Me the World Mister”

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Zangewa’s autobiographical yet universal work contrasts melancholy with hope, strength with disdain, and independence with prejudice. Also exhibiting at the same time - Show Me The World Mister, an exhibition by Ayo Akingbade featuring two new film commissions: The Fist and Faluyi.

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This summer John Hansard Gallery presents A Quiet Fire, by Malawian/South African artist Billie Zangewa.

Featuring a new, panoramic collage made from hand-stitched silk, the exhibition challenges the historical stereotypes used to objectify and exploit Black women. Zangewa’s autobiographical yet universal work contrasts melancholy with hope, strength with disdain, and independence with prejudice.

As well as a new commission made especially for the exhibition, also featured are a selection of Zangewa’s earlier works that reflect her practice and experience as a Black woman living in Johannesburg. These early works, described by Zangewa as ‘acts of daily feminism’, show an intimate, confident sense of self and female identity. A Quiet Fire is a visualisation of what the female gaze, through self-portraiture, could look like.

The exhibition was initiated by, and is presented in partnership with, Brighton CCA, and is accompanied by a newly commissioned fictional text by author Deesha Philyaw. After John Hansard Gallery, the exhibition will be shown at Tramway in Glasgow.

A Quiet Fire has been made possible through the generous support of Lehmann Maupin Gallery.

In partnership with Brighton CCA


John Hansard Gallery presents Show Me The World Mister, an exhibition by Ayo Akingbade featuring two new film commissions: The Fist and Faluyi. Both films were shot in Nigeria and explore Akingbade’s interest in history, placemaking, legacy, and power.

The Fist studies the first Guinness brewery built outside of the UK and Ireland, located on the edge of Lagos. Completed in 1962 after Nigeria’s independence from Britain, the brewery is a place where histories of industrialisation and labour collide. Shot using a 35mm camera, the film follows workers managing the assembly and packing lines, while drawing attention to the deep-rooted politics distilled within Guinness’ production.

Faluyi follows protagonist Ife on a journey tracing familial legacy and mysticism. Shot using 16mm in the Idanre Hills – a UNESCO World Heritage site in Ondo State and the birthplace of Akingbade’s parents – the film explores the artist’s personal relationship with Nigeria. Panoramic views of hills and forests form the backdrop to this sensitive tale of longing and loss, hope and celebration.

In addition, John Hansard Gallery will also screen Akingbade’s 2018 work, A is for Artist. Filmed in London, and a stark contrast to the location of The Fist and Faluyi, the short film follows the narrative of a young woman who assembles photographs from her family archive to encourage the pursuit of being an artist. A series of prints accompany the exhibition that reference the artist’s broad interest in portraiture and printmaking.

Facing out onto Southampton’s Guildhall Square, Gallery 3’s floor-to-ceiling windows will host a photograph from Akingbade’s father’s personal archive. At seven metres high, the image is an arresting introduction to Show Me The World Mister.

Produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London and Spike Island, Bristol, and commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, London; Spike Island, Bristol; The Whitworth, The University of Manchester; BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art, Gateshead; and John Hansard Gallery, Southampton.

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Location and contact

John Hansard Gallery

John Hansard Gallery
142-144 Above Bar Street
SO14 7DU