PROFILE: Mani Kambo | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Hands Eye, 2017, screen print, 20x20cm. Courtesy of the artist

Mythology, fortune telling and totemic symbols are at the forefront of Newcastle-born artist Mani Kambo’s work, which will be exhibited at Vane Gallery from Thursday 6th-Saturday 29th September.

Mani’s exhibition, entitled RIFT, explores ideas of dreams, memories and remembering. “RIFT comes from the idea of rifts in time and space, the idea of in-between spaces and traversing from one place to another. These places can represent consciousness and I like to explore the idea of dreams and passing in and out, or between dreams. The work draws from ideas of being and consciousness and if we are physically present in these places.”

Much of Mani’s previous work has included a moving image element – Towards A Summoning, her film for Channel 4’s Random Acts series, features a procession of ominous dream-like images backed by a sinister droning soundtrack composed by Jennifer Walton (Me Lost Me) – and RIFT will also feature a central projection piece, “full of abstract visuals and dream-like narrative”, as well as Cyanotypes, screen and digital prints.

Mani has drawn inspiration from an upbringing filled with prayer and rituals: “Since childhood my mum has always done little things to protect me, She performed small rituals such as water around the head three times while praying and then throwing it out the front door to rid me of any negative intentions that may have been put upon me, or placing a black dot behind the left ear to protect me from negative gaze. These little segments and memories have subconsciously appeared in my work whether through gesture, use of material or visuals. Through seeing these smaller family traditions or superstitions as the norm, I began to think about my own little superstitions and the power of actions.”  

These inspirations have led Mani to create work which investigates the self. “I’m inspired by the everyday and our own little mannerisms and interactions with the spaces we inhabit and people we meet.” She explains. A personal symbol for Mani is ‘Moonsnake’, which she describes as an alter-ego to channel when making work. “Memories and symbols are things that I draw power from. Saying a few words to yourself when you are afraid, thinking of empowering memories to give you strength or wearing something that makes you feel good.”

Mani Kambo’s RIFT is at Vane Gallery, Newcastle from Thursday 6th-Saturday 29th September.

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