For In a language of my own – the artist’s first presentation in Senegal part of the 12th edition of Partcours unfolds as an investigation into Igbo folk traditions and indigenous artisanal practices. Ukoha-Kalu's work delves into an introspective journey that probes her identity through the prism of folklore, textiles and performance. It is particularly inspired by Uche Okeke's "Manifesto of the Zaria Art Society", Natural Synthesis of 1960, where the Nigerian modernist argued for the fusion of the best indigenous artistic traditions, forms and ideas with those useful from Western cultures to create a uniquely Nigerian aesthetic perspective.
"In a language of my own’ delves into the exploration of Igbo cultural identity, employing folklore and craft practices as its foundational elements. Centered around Ala, the Igbo deity symbolizing earth and creativity, this body of work serves as a gateway to understanding the culture. Harnessing Ala's connection to materials, threads, and cloth become my primary artistic mediums, paying homage to the historical role of textiles in preserving cultural narratives through storytelling. In the pursuit of understanding Ala, I unearth names, symbols, and techniques, thus mapping out an ethereal spiritual realm that embodies the essence of Igbo heritage."
- Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu (exhibition text, December 2023)
Partcours #12 spans 17 days of openings and non- stop artistic events in Dakar, Senegal with 31 art spaces brought together for numerous exhibitions exploring the city and its suburbs.
Image: Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu, In A Language of My Own, installation view. Photography (c) the artist.