Liona Nyariri: Pfimbi Yemashoko (the place where the words are kept) at Real Art Ways

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Liona Nyariri: Pfimbi Yemashoko (the place where the words are kept)


Opening Thursday, March 21, 6-8 PM, during Creative Cocktail Hour
Artist Talk: Sunday, March 24, 2:30-4 PM

2018 Real Art Awards recipient Liona Nyariri presents a new installation. Exploring the complexities of colonization, language, and mythology, Nyariri’s multidisciplinary work challenges how we understand systems. Utilizing scholarly research in the fields of linguistics and history, Nyariri constructs an alternative mythology utilizing both historic and contemporary narratives. Her installation creates a visceral feeling, making real the complicated emotions and experiences of her character, the Pidgin.

From Nyariri’s Artist Statement
“Liona Nyariri’s work revolves around the study of pidgin languages (similar to creoles or patois) that came from Southern Africa during European colonization. A pidgin language emerges when one or more languages come together to form a hybrid.

Nyariri is specifically focused on English as part of British colonialism and the colonization of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Nyariri uses her research to propel the creation of her own mythology around a character known as ‘Pidgin.’ This character is meant to represent the physical manifestation of pidgin languages and is the metaphor through which she explores how mythologies and language intersect and how they are used for political, social and economic gain or otherwise.

Nyariri’s process includes creating text work and objects that perpetuate the mythology of the character, Pidgin.”

About the Artist
Liona R. Nyariri (b. 1991) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in Fine Art from Parsons The New School of Design and completed her Whitney Independent Study Program fellowship in 2017.

Her work has been presented at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, AC Institute, Participant Inc., Long Island City Art Fair, Gallery MOMO, Cape Town Month of Photography, Young Blood Gallery, AVA Gallery and others. Nyariri is the recipient of the ABSA Art and Life award as well as a top finalist for the Sasol New Signatures Award.

Nyariri has completed a residency with Artist Alliance Inc., New York and is currently completing a fellowship in Germany at the Hochschule Für Bidende Künste Braunschweig, funded by the state of Lower Saxony (BS Projects scholarship 2018/19).

The 2018 Real Art Awards is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation.

National Endowment for the Arts