Ámà: The Gathering Place
20 October 2021 to 16 January 2022
This October, the Gropius Bau presents a space-filling atrium installation by Emeka Ogboh
From October 2021, a site-specific installation by artist Emeka Ogboh will occupy the Gropius Bau’s vast atrium – the heart of the institution’s historical architecture, which is freely accessible without an entry price, welcoming all visitors to the very center of the building. Titled Ámà: The Gathering Place (2019/2021), Ogboh’s intervention takes the form of a tree, over 9 metres high, and includes an accompanying 12-channel sound installation as well as textile elements. The work takes as a point of departure the “ámà”, or “village square” in Igbo. These sites are the physical and symbolic centres of life in Igbo society, spaces for gathering where ceremonies, entertainment, trade and everyday social exchange occur. Ámà: The Gathering Place takes inspiration from these sites and transforms the atrium into a space for respite and ritual, all amid the backdrop of recordings of an ensemble singing traditional Igbo folk songs addressing universal human concerns such as relationships, hope and mythical worldviews. In addition to sculptural and sound elements, viewers will be invited to spend time in this multisensory installation on traditional Akwétè cloths, designed by contemporary Nigerian graphic designers and traditional weavers, which will also cover the work’s central sculpture. The work is a demonstration of how semi-public spaces, from village squares to institutional open spaces, can be recuperated as sites of conviviality, care, celebration, reflection and exchange. Simultaneously, Ogboh’s fulldome adaptation of The Way Earthly Things Are Going will be shown at the Zeiss-Großlplanetarium on 18 and 19 September 2021 as part of the Berliner Festspiele’s The New Infinity programme series.
About Emeka Ogboh
Emeka Ogboh is an artist whose practice engages with space, and public and private memory, through varying media including sound, sculpture and gastronomy. His interests lie in the interlinkage between communal, private and public culture and their reification through sound and food. He has recently presented works at Friche la Belle de Mai Marseille (2021), the Dresden’s Museum für Völkerkunde (2020), Kunstmuseum Ravensburg (2020), Museum Tinguely, Basel (2019) and Cleveland Museum of Art (2019), among others.