Ava DuVernay presents Say My Name, two art exhibitions honouring influential figures and moments in Black history

Curated by Khalil Akar for Signature African Art gallery, the two shows in London and LA aim to connect African artists with diasporic histories in Europe and America.

3 September 2020
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2 minute read


Signature African Art gallery has announced two new shows curated by its director Khalil Akar and presented by acclaimed director of Selma and 13th, Ava DuVernay, aiming to connect African artists with the histories of the diaspora in Europe and America. Opening in London in October 2020 and LA in February 2021, the Say My Name exhibitions coincide with Black History Month in their respective countries, and hence, celebrate and honour influential figures and moments in Black history.

The London show will feature 13 African artists, depicting, through portrait paintings and sculpture, people such as George Floyd and Angela Davis, historic events such as Windrush and BLM protests, and symbols including the Black Power fist.

Nigerian artist Oluwole Omofemi is exhibiting a series of nine paintings, marking the approximate nine minutes Floyd’s neck was pressed on, featuring nine sentences Floyd said during that time including “I can’t breath”. Benin-based artist Moufouli Bello is showing a portrait of Breonna Taylor. The gallery is donating its share of the sale proceeds to the families of Floyd and Taylor.

Artist Dennis Osakue will exhibit a portrait of activist Angela Davis, who is the focus of DuVernay’s seminal documentary 13th. Osakue is known for his large-scale, photorealistic paintings. Taiye Erewele meanwhile depicts Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize.

Adjaratou Ouedraogo explores the treatment of the descendants of the Windrush Generation in the 2018 Windrush scandal; and Giggs Kgole comments on the loss of identity of African people during enslavement in his 3D painting. Other exhibiting artists include Dandelion Eghosa, Djakou Nathalie and Ayanfe Olarinde. Details of the participating artists in the LA show will be announced later in 2020.

“Art is a disruptive and propulsive force, DuVernay says in a statement about the shows. “Creative expression is one of the most powerful tools that we can employ to activate and ignite change. I am happy to partner with Khalil and Signature African Art to showcase the galvanising work of 13 dynamic Black artists as they tackle issues of justice and dignity through their art practice.”

Say My Name opens at Signature African Art from 27 October – 28 November 2020 in London, and in February 2021 in LA.

GallerySay My Name at Signature African Art


Moufouli Bello: Mojisola (copyright the artist, 2019)


Oluwole Omofemi: Father and Son (copyright the artist, 2019)


Taiye Erewele: Slay Queen (copyright the artist, 2020)


Adjaratou Ouedraogo: Le Faux Ami (copyright the artist, 2020)

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Giggs Kgole: Boshielo (copyright the artist, 2020)

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent the last ten years working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on jb@itsnicethat.com.

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