Where do we go from here? An apt question for our current, somewhat tumultuous times and also the intriguing title of Salford-based artist Foday Kabba’s first solo exhibition, presented in the second gallery space at PAPER in Manchester.
The show features a series of Kabba’s most recent ink drawings, which explore the theme of identity and the construction or outward projection of the self as a protective mechanism that can often have the opposite effect of inflicting harm, preventing us from truly engaging with our individual inner reality.
Formed of a strange assembly of winches, ropes, metal bars and other construction materials, the drawings have a distinctly surrealist quality, yet also emerge from a complex matrix of other artistic influences. The cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso, the labyrinthine constructions of Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida, George Condo’s strange ‘pod’ portraits and the spatial paintings of Vanessa Jackson make up just some of the artists that have shaped Kabba’s eye.
The drawings form the two-dimensional continuation of a series of abstract wire sculptures that the artist began working on during his time studying Fine Art at the University of Salford, gradating in 2018. As such, they represent an intriguing new direction in Kabba’s development which he plans to pursue further, particularly through the introduction of colour as a potent form of emotional expression.