Private View: 2 September 2014
Hales Gallery is delighted to announce its first solo exhibition with Senegalese artist Omar Ba, State of Emergency.
Having lived both in Senegal and Switzerland, Omar Ba's works combine memories of his motherland with experiences of his current home in Geneva, bringing together both African and Western influences.
State of Emergency, the artist's first solo exhibition in the UK, will present a series of new paintings most of which were made during Ba’s recent visit to Dakar. Although soaked with a spirit of crises, Ba’s paintings still leave the viewer with a feeling of elation as the images of warfare and symbols of political power are diffused among elaborate patterns and vibrant colours, often inspired by traditional Senegalese ornaments. Ba’s goal, however, is to create works that would speak a visual language not tied to a particular tradition or culture. Therefore the “state of emergency”, in Ba’s paintings, is a universal characteristic of the postmodern condition; the themes explored - those of politics, culture, history, etc. – point to a general state of affairs rather than to any local issue in particular, reflecting the artist’s interest in society as a whole.
Compared to Omar Ba's earlier works which embrace the flatness of the panting surface and incorporate it into the visual composition, in these new works Ba experiments with perspective, albeit still approaching it with caution and retaining the general 2-dimentionality of most elements. Using black and white to lay out the background for the works, Ba brings mythical creatures, animals and human figures on to the centre stage. These beings seem to exist in limbo between African and Western cultures and painterly traditions, reflecting Ba’s personal background of living both in Dakar and in Geneva.
Omar Ba (b. Senegal, 1977) received his formal education in both Senegal (l'Ecole Nationale des Beaux-arts, Senegal, 2002) and Switzerland (l'Ecole Supérieur des Beaux-arts, Geneva, 2005 and ECAV - MAPS Arts in Public Spheres, 2011), Selected exhibitions include: Biennale de Dakar (Dakar, Senegal, 2014), Vitalic (Hales Gallery, London, UK, 2013), La Jeunesse est un art (Manor Kunstpreis, Aagauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland, 2012), Swiss Art Awards (Bale, Switzerland), and others. In 2011, Ba received the prestigious Swiss Art Award. 2014 saw the publication of The Prophecy of the People of Durban/La Prophetie des Gens de Durban, the artist's most recent catalogue. Ba's works can be found in private and public collections, including Credit Suisse, Fonds municipal d'art contemporain de la Ville de Geneve, Fonds municipal d'art contemporain de la Ville de Paris, Centre national des arts plastiques, France, and others.
Ba lives and works in Geneva, Switzerland and Dakar, Senegal.