Venetia Kapernekas Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of work by Mansita Walu Diawara, entitled Manquératé* [from the French manquer, unfilled or frustrated in realizing an ambition; rater, to fail to satisfy, as of expectations; to fall short of]. Diawara explores and dismantles the idea of truth that is associated with the photographic image, which in turn is informed by an assortment of references, (auditory, cultural, literary, visual). The result is a new suggestion of memory and truth.
In this series Diawara presents photographs that were taken during her investigation into the cultures of Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and Togo in 2005. Her exposure throughout her travels to different textures, both carnal and psychological, heavily influences the artist’s process. Realized in various formats (35mm, digital, C-prints, Polaroid scans), Diawara’s aim is that each picture reveal itself to the viewer as an experience, not as an example. In several works in the exhibition photographic elements are layered over a thin sheet of reflective material. The reflection implicates the viewer in the work not as an observer but as a participant in the artist’s personal journey to discover her cultural identity vis-à-vis her native land. Similarly, the semi-gauzy reflection of the viewer in a black and white tripartite photograph mounted on white plexiglass, which resembles an archival film still or a found negative strip, further frustrates the active/passive dichotomy and renders the viewer less sure of his or her relation to the image and the artist’s pictorial intention. Diawara’s mix of textures, such as photographs on canvas, not only argues for a re-evaluation of painting as only a flat visual landscape but her manipulation of overlapping patterns and images also reconstructs and replays the references and influences she absorbed from the West African landscape and its local cultural artifacts.