Photo London Artproof Award Winner | Mimi Cherono Ng’ok
Photo London announced Mimi Cherono Ng’ok as the winner of the inaugural Photo London Artproof Award.
Cherono Ng’ok is a Nairobi based Kenyan photographer whose series Everyone is Lonely in Kigali was on view at Tiwani Contemporary’s booth. An independent panel of experts selected Cherono Ng’ok for the Award, which is given to the most outstanding young photographer showing at the Fair. The Award builds on the Fair’s commitment to young talent by providing an outstanding international residency opportunity, generously provided by Residency Unlimited based in New York, together with a significant production grant from international printing laboratory Artproof. The resulting work by Cherono Ng’ok will be exhibited at Photo London 2018.
Everyone Is Lonely in Kigali, by Mimi Cherono Ng’ok, whose practice expresses what she describes as ‘an emotional cartography’, arose from a project bookmarked by two journeys to Brazil, marking a period of major emotional transformation and shifting perspective for Ng’ok. Taken in locations as varied as Dakar, Accra, Berlin, Abidjan, Kampala, Kigali, Nairobi and Johannesburg, Everyone Is Lonely in Kigali reflects a life in movement. However, the images contain no traceable markers of geographical location and their light suggests a liminal state in time of neither dawn nor dusk.
While, on the one hand, the images suggest a sense of being adrift, uprooted, or away from home, their open-endedness also allows them to transcend the specificities of place and time. Cherono Ng’ok returns to visual repetitions of her own ‘obsessions’: trees, the tropics and horses. An unidentified male figure gives rise to feelings of lust, longing and loss, and becomes a metonym for a previous relationship, a current affair and a future experience: ‘a man in my life, or many, or none.’
Everyone is Lonely in Kigali explores the universality of emotional experience, with location having little effect on the manner in which love or loneliness is felt. Intended as a means of collating spaces, people, memories, place, desire, loss and absence, the resulting installation presents a non-linear collage of vignettes that can be reinterpreted and re-imagined retroactively. Unmoored, the viewer must draw on their own experiences to find a visual anchor within the world these images map out.
Mimi Cherono Ng’ok was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1983. She studied Photography at the University of Cape Town, graduating in 2006. She is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. Her experiences growing up between Kenya and South Africa have engendered an intimate body of work centred on issues of home, displacement, loss and identity.
She has presented solo exhibitions in Denmark, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa. Recent group exhibitions include: Dakar Biennale international exhibition (2016 and 2014); Rencontres de Bamako (2015); Tiwani Contemporary, London (2015); Fondation Donwahi, Abidjan (2015); National Museum of Kenya, Nairobi (2013) and Savvy Contemporary, Berlin (2011). She has undertaken residencies in Côte d’Ivoire, Denmark, Brazil, Ghana and Germany and won 1st place in the PhotoAfrica Award in Tarifa, Spain in 2010.
Tiwani Contemporary exhibits and represents international artists, focusing on Africa and its diaspora. The gallery presents work through its exhibition programme and participation in art fairs. In addition to its commercial activities, Tiwani Contemporary runs a public programme, Art Connect, supported by the A.G. Leventis Foundation. This provides a platform for discussing contemporary artistic practice through publications, talks and projects.
Artproof are an international art printing laboratory with locations in Tallinn, Stockholm and Berlin. Artproof works with artists to print their vision, as envisioned, and deliver it framed for private or public exhibition. They print over 60 photo exhibitions every year for artists from all over the world.
Residency Unlimited (RU) supports the creation, presentation and dissemination of contemporary art through its unique residency program and year-round public programs. Residents benefit from a diverse network of partners, which allows for flexibility, customization and access to a wide range of services and resources including but not limited to studio/workspaces. RU facilitate connections in and outside the art world, offer hands-on production and technical assistance, and professional development opportunities. Residencies may focus on research and dialogue rather than on traditional production formats. In addition, to the local New York-based residencies, RU offer national and international exchanges, and year-round public programs which cover a broad range of topics at the forefront of contemporary art practice and critical discourse.
Photo London Artproof Award has received additional funding from Nicholas Stanley and ME London.
See more awards from Photo London 2017