Chemu Ng'ok: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

19 March - 17 April 2021

Kenyan painter Chemu Ng'ok is primarily concerned with power, its institutions, and their influence on the human psyche. Her oneiric compositions are replete with broad swathes of colour, diaphanous washes of paint, and sharp, quivering contours. Images of soldiers, judges, and ordinary citizens intersect, leaning on one another, their existences inextricably linked by history and hierarchies. The artist interrogates her own experience as a black, African woman, as well as the wider political landscape, encompassing contemporary Kenyan politics and the enduring legacy of colonialism.

Chemu Ng'ok (b.1989) lives and works in Nairobi, Kenya. She completed her Master's degree in Fine Art (Painting) at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, in 2017 and was the recipient of the Mellon Foundation's Visual and Performing Arts of Africa Masters Bursary in 2016. She was selected to show five paintings at the Fourth New Museum Triennial, 'Songs for Sabotage', in New York (2018). Other recent group exhibitions include Blank Projects, Cape Town (2020, 2019); Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London (2019); National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare (2017); Goodman Gallery, Cape Town (2015); and Rhodes University, Grahamstown (2014). This year she was shortlisted for the Henrike Grohs Art Award. Her first solo exhibition in the UK will open at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, in March 2021.