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We are delighted to present Knees Kiss Ground, a solo exhibition by Motunrayo Akinola exploring faith and belonging through everyday objects.

The exhibition was produced during his six month Postgraduate Residency at South London Gallery, delivered in partnership with ourselves.

Motunrayo Akinola (b.1992) uses images of the home and everyday objects to explore comfort and belonging. He is interested in the function and materiality of these objects, and how they can trigger emotions and memories.

Akinola spent some time studying architecture before moving into art. He is interested in ideas around existing within different kinds of spaces. For this exhibition, Akinola will present works made during his residency, including an immersive installation constructed entirely from corrugated cardboard to replicate the exact dimensions of a shipping container, and several light works that explore the relationship between light and religious or spiritual rituals. These works also make reference to Biblical associations of light as a revelatory presence.

Akinola’s interest in attitudes towards migration stems from his dual upbringing in London and Lagos, Nigeria. His research throughout his residency has delved into post-colonial power dynamics and the psychology of ownership. By noting subtle gaps in cultural knowledge, his work aims to come to a new understanding about the possession of space.

About Motunrayo Akinola

Motunrayo Akinola is a London-based artist who uses images of the home and everyday materials to explore comfort and belonging. He creates sculptures, installations, sound and drawings. He studied at RA Schools, graduating in 2023. As a British-born Nigerian who has spent time in and now feels comfortable in both countries, Akinola’s work exposes the nuanced differences between the two places.

About the residency

Bonington Gallery have partnered with South London Gallery to deliver their 13th Postgraduate Residency, an open submission six-month residency that provides an early-career artist with a rare opportunity to produce a new body of work, which is then exhibited at the SLG and in this instance at Bonington Gallery. The residency is open to artists who have completed a BA, and have undertaken a period of self-directed, peer-led or postgraduate study in the year prior to the residency. This can include alternative, peer organised and non-accredited programmes from an institution, collective or art school in the UK as well as an MA, MFA, PGDip, MRes.

The SLG has an international reputation for its contemporary art exhibitions by established, mid-career and younger artists and programme of film and performance events. Its highly regarded, free education programme includes a peer-led young people’s forum; family workshops; artist-led projects and commissions on local housing estates; and a programme for looked after children.

The Postgraduate Residency is supported by The Paul and Louise Cooke Endowment.

Book your free ticket

Join us for the launch of a new exhibition featuring over 120 works by contemporary working-class artists and photographers.

Curated by photographer, writer and broadcaster Johny Pitts, After the End of History emphasises the perspectives of practitioners who turn their gaze towards both their communities and outwards to the wider world. Find out more.

‘After the End of History: British Working Class Photography 1989 – 2024’ is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition curated by Johny Pitts with Hayward Gallery Touring.

We caught up with moving-image artist and researcher Onyeka Igwe ahead of her forthcoming show, history is a living weapon in yr hand which launches on 12 January, and runs until 2 March 2024.

A woman standing outside in front of a bush.
Onyeka Igwe portrait by Yasmin Akim.
  1. Where are you right now?
    Berlin.
  1. How would you describe your forthcoming exhibition, history is a living weapon in yr hand to someone who is unfamiliar with your work?
    I’d say it was an exhibition about rehearsing the future through the lens of the history of black radicalism in 1940s London.

  2. How did you first become interested in moving image work?
    I always loved going to the cinema when I was a kid, it was a pleasure and distraction. I made films as a hobby at university but then my friend Thea said, “why not be a filmmaker?” in the last months of my final year of a politics degree. I thought I’d make documentaries but I was disappointed by the documentary world, and then I discovered art when I lived in a project space called Limazulu and that felt like the setting I wanted to explore the moving image in.

  3. What’s been the most rewarding part of creating your film, A Radical Duet?
    Working with all the cast and crew, the feeling I had on the set, and the very fact that my words on a page became real.

  4. What’s your favourite thing about being an artist?
    That my job is to think, follow my curiosities and share that.

  5. Which bands or musicians are on your playlist at the moment?
    I recently got my record player working again and so was listening to something I bought in the pandemic but haven’t spent so much time with, African Acid is the Future.

  6. What do you do when you have a day off?
    Pretend I know how to relax! I’m trying to find a new hobby after roller derby took over my life.

  7. What works or shows do you have in the pipeline?
    Next year I’ll be in the Nigerian Pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale and touring history is a living weapon in yr hand to other galleries in the UK. I want to make the feature film version of A Radical Duet so trying to rustle up some funding!