On Being

On Being gathers together artists who question what it means to be human, how we live and who we are as a society. Whether one follows Aristotle’s eudaimonia principles of humanity, Jean Paul Sartre’s concept of freewill and human freedom, or Jean Baudrillard’s representation of the reality of humanity, the artists gathered here seek to reconcile the fragmented and contradictory nature of contemporary life while acknowledging the validity of the idea of society as a fluid and shifting construct, constantly in flux and influenced by the physical, cultural and social forces around us. They all ponder the role of the past in shaping our understanding of ourselves in the current perspective to provide a generative narrative of our time – the life of the mind, the truth of the body, and the mystery of the human spirit.

Kristian Evju is best known for making enigmatic and unpredictable graphite drawings and paintings based on project-specific historical archives. One of his recent projects involved utilising 20th century mug shots from American and Australian penitentiaries for women to explore both materiality and the transience of photographic narratives. Evju is a multiple award-winning artist who has exhibited and published worldwide. His work has recently been acquired by The British Museum’s permanent collection of drawing and prints, and will be part of an upcoming exhibition on Nordic art.

The multi-talented Franco-Chinese artist-musician, Li Chevalier, has been on a journey since leaving her native China and settling in France. Chevalier has built her career travelling from continent to continent and around an intercultural and multidisciplinary aesthetic universe of Western and Eastern philosophy. After her wanderings into Western and pictorial art, she revisited Chinese ink art and is now known for her semi-abstract symbolism style in ink painting on canvas born out of this blending of Western media and Eastern aesthetic. She draws on her Eastern background and memories of real and imagined places of her subconscious in her quest to capture the sublime, evasive, allusive and lyricism of the human spirit.

Luqmaan Godfrey is the alter ego of Damilola Odusote who is a successful muralist and commercial artist. In creating the Luqmaan Godfrey persona, Odusote explores the underlying issues that formed his identity as a Black person brought up in a rough White estate in Essex by foster parents from the Romany gypsy community – Luqmaan is one of his Nigerian middle names and Godfrey is in memory of his foster parent’s surname. He uses his seemingly playful drawings to draw viewers into the complex political, cultural, identity and racial dislocation of his personal journey as a microcosm of contemporary human discourse.

Norwegian Marit Geraldine Bostad delves into her inner psyche to explore human interactions past, present and future in an abstract and bold Nordic Colour tradition. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, she developed a series of work exploring how interpersonal communications were affected during lock-downs and if they have “normalised” or how they have changed in the aftermath. As a trajectory to this series, she has developed new work in the form of abstract portraiture to convene with the past and explore intergenerational conversations through memories for a better future.

Nam Tran is a highly acclaimed ceramist-sculptor who was catapulted to fame through his appearance on the BBC’s Great Pottery Throwdown. Tran’s reputation as a gifted innovator of experimental and alternative ceramic technics lead to his studio, Cernamic, being commissioned for the production of Katherine Bernhardt’s work for Frieze, and Marguerite Humeau’s inaugural solo exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey. For his personal art practise, Tran looks to childhood objects of play that were vital to our physical, cognitive, creative, emotional and social development which serve as metaphors for the building blocks of society. He reimagines and bookmarks the pivotal moments in popular culture of the recent past, conjuring up nostalgia and the inner child within in his playful exquisitely crafted ceramic sculptures. He was previously represented by Stern Pissarro Gallery in London Mayfair and currently runs several studios to help support a new generation of ceramists.