The representative – A Duo

This week we looked at works by Foni Kofi and Aidon Westcott. Included in our exhibition, Grounded, which formed part of the Hermanus FynArts Festival in June, is another work by Foni Kofi. One of the interesting conversations this work gave rise to was about the history of iconographic language in Africa. For one viewer, the blocked, flat colour and simplified symbols in Kofi’s work reminded them of the iconography used in many African countries over centuries.

Thinking back on these conversations, I chose for this iteration of Duo, another of Kofi’s work, The Boutique (shoe in the middle). This work, compared to the work on exhibition, Kitchen utensils, is one of Kofi’s works with more recognisable, representational images. Kofi still utilises the same technique of simplifying the form of the figures and objects, as well as the ‘blocked’ composition. Once the conversation of the language of iconography had taken hold, it gained momentum in my mind. The composition of the works was reminiscent for me of the principles of typography; the appearance, arrangement, style and appearance of symbols, and letters. Kofi’s works have become a visual display of language.

In response, Susana chose the work The representative by Aidon Westcott. In a similar way of arranging composite pieces to form a ‘whole’ image, in this case, ephemera, Westcott creates visual indicators via symbols. Speaking about his work, Westcott mentions that “… each item reflects the moods or mores of past time.” As a looming, central figure, Westcott has painted a fish. In a similar way to Kofi’s work, the composite pieces are visual indicators which are symbolic- they are all representatives for further investigation, a nod to historical links. The fish, for example, is for Westcott a product of the ocean and freshwater, in turn symbolic of emotion and intuition, “so fish can be symbolic of the world of symbols, in contrast with the purely materialistic earthbound approach to life.”

As always, we’ll highlight more of our conversation in our social media posts, so follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
Candice and Susana