April - July 2024

We are pleased to announce the latest TALKING OBJECTS residency with Adam Yawe. He will contribute to the archive with his own artwork, which will be linked to objects from the TALKING OBJECTS ARCHIVE digital collection.

Adam Yawe is a 3D artist and product designer from Kenya. Growing up on the streets of Nairobi as a skateboarder and trained as a biomedical engineer, his work focuses on everyday urban material culture and objects. The question of the extent to which reinterpretations of everyday objects change our perception is central to his artistic practice.

As part of the TALKING OBJECTS residency programme (April–July 2024), Adam has created a mesmerising virtual 3D object that draws on a multitude of references. Of particular importance were an incense burner by the influential Senegalese writer Mariama Ba (1929–1981) and a carved seat from the Ashanti Empire (1680–1896; today Ghana) from the collection of the Musée Théodore Monod, Dakar. In his work, Yawe combines these two West African objects with artefacts from contemporary Kenyan everyday culture.

In Yawe's video work Mahindi Choma #1, the three bright yellow corncobs are the first thing that catch the eye. Laid out like incense sticks, they are stuck in a concrete construction whose shape is reminiscent of both the Ashanti seat and the Kenyan water system Inverted Block Drainage (IBD). The digital object evokes the smell of roasted corn, Mahindi Choma, a popular snack of colonial origin. Today omnipresent on Nairobi's streets, corn came to Kenya through transatlantic trade relations and displaced local crops. Using corn as an example, Yawe points to transcultural interdependencies and their effects. With his work, Yawe associatively creates new references and questions when (cultural) exchange becomes appropriation and when creative re-creation is the result.

Starting from the 3rd of July, his video work will be displayed in the exhibition titled The Cosmologies of Objects at Villa 102 in Frankfurt. 

Funded by the Goethe-Institut. 

© Chris Muli