Last week, Lagos and London based gallery Tiwani Contemporary announced their representation of artist Emma Prempeh. The starting point of Emma's paintings is the matter of blackness – the tonal properties of the colour establish the ground for her paintings and a cinematic basis of invoking and projecting memories of events, people, and places as a means of emphasising an appreciation of ancestral time and relationships, selfhood and transformation. Schlag metal, a brass alloy of copper and zinc imitative of gold leaf, is a material that Emma applies to selected areas of her often large-scale paintings. Over time this oxidises creating slow, live visual changes that animate the image and create a meta-narrative around our experiences of the passing of time, memory and its representation.
Emma, whose residency starts this week, is supported by Tiwani Contemporary through our Fellowship Platinum Partner donor package. She is Tiwani's inaugural Artist in Residence at G.A.S. and the gallery will present her most recent works at their Lagos venue on Victoria Island between the 8th of September and the 28th of October 2022. Ahead of her arrival, we asked Emma to share some of her hopes for the residency with us.
Go Liming (2022) oil, acrylic, iron powder and imitation gold leaf on canvas (left). Come Way Are We Go. Oil, acrylic, iron powder and imitation gold leaf on canvas with chair installation (right).
What is the current focus of your practice?
The current focus of my practice is the exploration of Caribbean interiors, placing figures within these spaces to create environments that people might find familiar. I’m hoping to extend this to depictions of my own culture using West African interiors as well as those adopted by young Black British Londoners.
What drew you to this residency and how do you think it will inform your wider practice?
I was invited to be an inaugural artist in residence with Tiwani Contemporary who represent me. I have had previous experiences with residencies and my hope was to include the exploration of how residencies could help develop artists' practices in ways that do not pressure them to make work solely for profit. It's almost a means of evaluating for myself what residencies are supposed to be like and what you are supposed to take away from the experience.
Snippet of And So On. Oil, acrylic, iron powder and imitation gold leaf on canvas with projection.
Can you give us an insight into how you hope to use the opportunity?
I hope to use the opportunity to delve deeper into my practice within an unfamiliar environment. What conversations could be had when you collide cultures that are different yet quite similar? I also want to use this experience to further understand what being in residence is like for the second time and how it will end up shaping my practice further after graduating.
Emma Prempeh lives and works in London. She studied at Goldsmiths University of London graduating in 2019 and winning the Alumno/Space bursary award in 2020. She recently attended MA Painting at the Royal College of Art under the LeverHulme Trust Arts Scholarship winning the Valerie Beston Trust Arts award for 2022.
Emma's residency is supported by Tiwani Contemporary through our Fellowship Platinum Partner donor package. This giving level is used directly to support three residency fellowship awards in Nigeria over a three-year period with a focus on African and African Diaspora recipients.
Portrait of Emma Prempeh. Courtesy of the artist and ALSO Journal. Photo by Ellyse Anderson.
For more information about Emma visit emmaprempeh.com. For more information about Tiwani Contemporary visit tiwani.co.uk.
Title image: Go Liming, 2022, Oil, Acrylic, Iron Powder, Print and Imitation Gold Leaf on Canvas, 190 x 145 cm, 74 3/4 x 57 1/8 in. Courtesy of the artist and Tiwani Contemporary.