In time for art week in New York, Galerie Templon opens its new space in the Chelsea Art District. Led by Mathieu Templon, son of Daniel Templon, who closely collaborates with rising star Senegalese artist Omar Ba, Galerie Templon has chosen to inaugurate the space with a solo exhibition by the artist titled Droit du sol – Droit de rêver.
Ba’s debut exhibition in New York examines the complexities of Africa in contemporary American and European politics. The exhibition features a new series of paintings, some of which were created in the gallery’s pristine workshop. The works, which were inspired by historian-philosopher Valentin-Yves Mudimbe, question stereotypes of African democracies, historical and cultural dynamics that restrict personal freedoms on the continent, and their effects on Afro-American identity.
This particular series is unique. Before painting, the subjects, who are occasionally unidentified, were pencil-drawn. Confederate States flags are flown in the background to reflect how black communities are perceived throughout the world.
The defining features of Ba’s work are its cryptic nature and poetic intensity. Instead of writing a literary narrative, he wants to express his unconsciousness and his symbolic interpretation of reality. The artist addresses topics like anarchy, destruction, and authoritarianism while cloaking his political rhetoric in a veil of poetry and using a visual, powerful, and subtle vocabulary all his own.
Later this year, Ba will have a significant 224-page monograph that surveys his body of work since 2016 and a solo exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Both French and English versions will be released.
As Mathieu explains, “In a context profoundly reshaped by the pandemic, and the renewed attractiveness of Paris as a cultural hub, it only seemed natural to expand the gallery’s footprint and organize a permanent presence in New York. A large number of our artists do not have American representation or have not exhibited in the US in a long time. Our objective is to give them an opportunity to engage with new audiences and give them the global platform they deserve.”