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How can foundational narratives be understood today and to what extent does a new visual language need to be developed? Photographer based in Canada, Gabon-born Yannis Davy Guibinga (b. (b. His research-based work is rooted in the exploration and the re-imagining of mythologies, especially from Western and Central Africa. His latest exhibition, Children of Distant SunsThis collection of visual tales is based on folklore. From water spirits to Christian themes, vice to desire, Guibinga’s subject matter demonstrates the global resonance of myth. These stories transcend geographical boundaries. The same ideas and characters are repeated in different cultures around the globe under different names. We caught up with Guibinga at the opening of the show, which features bright, sun-drenched, and hyperreal images.
A: Tell us about how you got into working with images – where did it all begin?
YDG: I was exposed to fashion photos at an early age, and wanted to eventually create that kind of image.
A: What’s the focus or message behind your latest series?
YDG:I am always looking for stories that are inspired by or set in Africa. My latest series are progressions of other works, such as Tales of the First SunriseThe use of vivid colours, strong contrasts, and editing techniques are used to tell stories relating to African mythologies.
A: What is your favorite piece of art?
YDG:This image (above), from the website, is what you see right now. Melting Daylight series. I think it perfectly represents my current aesthetic and the type visuals I’m interested in creating.
A: Who – or what – have been your biggest creative inspirations?
YDG: The list is constantly changing, but I would say that at the moment, they are: Lina Iris, Manyaku Mashilo and Leslie Zhang.
A: What’s been the highlight – or highlights – of your career so far?
YDG: Two of my pieces have been purchased by the Wedge Collection. New Black VanguardA traveling exhibition was shown at Art Basel. I also collaborated with Chance Therapper on a billboard piece that appeared in multiple cities. It’s a highlight every time my work is shown in a new country.
Do you believe you have a “signature” technique or approach? What is it?
YDG:My visual language is characterized by strong contrasts and shadows, as well as sunsets. These elements are present in many of the images I create.
What would you do if you could have any other job or be an expert on any other subject?
YDG: If I had the skill, I would have loved to be an illustrator – working on concept drawings and character model sheets for animated TV shows and movies.
What are some of the artists you admire?
YDG: Vladim Vilain, Daniel Obasi, Morgan Otagburuagu, MAR+VIN.
What do you want your audience to take away from the new works that you have created?
YDG:I hope that viewers will be inspired by the African continent and its cultures, as well as its history to create a wide range of stories.
What are you working right now? Is there anything else we can look forward to in the future?
YDG: I am exploring different photography techniques, like auto-portraits, which has been really fun.
Children of Distant Suns runs until 23 March | doylewham.com
All images courtesy Yannis Guibinga & Doyle Wham. London.
Original content by aestheticamagazine.com – “Aesthetica Magazine – 10 Questions With…Yannis Davy Guibinga”
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