fbpx Biennale Arte 2024 | Karimah Ashadu
La Biennale di Venezia

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Karimah Ashadu

London, United Kingdom, 1985
Lives in Hamburg, Germany and Lagos, Nigeria

  • TUE - SUN
    20/04 > 30/09
    11 AM - 7 PM
    FRI - SAT UNTIL 30/09
    11 AM - 8 PM
    01/10 > 24/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Raised in Nigeria, Karimah Ashadu was first trained in painting at the University of Reading. Machine Boys (2024) portrays motorcycle taxis, colloquially known as okada, in the megacity of Lagos. In 2022, due to numerous accidents involving okada and the impossibility of regulating its informal economy, a ban was enforced, making passengers and drivers liable to imprisonment. In Machine Boys, Ashadu dwells on the consequences of this ban, while portraying the daily rituals and challenges faced by okada riders. The riders embody a particular kind of masculinity through their stylish attire and self-assured, powerful behaviour. Through this exploration of Nigerian patriarchal ideals, Ashadu relates the performance of masculinity to the vulnerability of a precarious class of workers. She projects the film in a purple room, inspired by one of the bikers’ flashing headlights. The brass sculpture Wreath (2024), an interwoven relief of tyres, evokes a medallion, suggesting notions of commemoration and legitimacy.

This is the first time the work of Karimah Ashadu is presented at Biennale Arte.

—Sofia Gotti

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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte