White Columns

White Room Emheyo Bahabba 
 

“Once more I light a candle to celebrate values, social and cultural, that are slipping out of our grasp. These values, like light, are consistent with actions that require repetition to be constant.”
– Embah, 1992.
 
White Columns is proud to present an exhibition to celebrate the life and work of the Trinidadian poet, musician, artist Emheyo Bahabba, aka ‘Embah’ (1937-2015). This will be White Columns’ second presentation of Embah’s work, following his celebrated 2007 solo exhibition (his first outside of his native Trinidad, which was organized with the support of the Trinidad-based artists Peter Doig and Chris Ofili.)
 
The present exhibition consists of a group of six paintings made between the 1993 and 2012, and together they articulate the full aesthetic range of Embah’s often visionary approach to both painting and the painted image. This group of paintings were originally sent by the artist to White Columns prior to his untimely passing in 2015: with a view that they might be presented together. This posthumous presentation is intended as a celebration of Embah’s life, work, and his extraordinary spirit.
 
Embah started making art in 1980. Self-taught, his work employs a rich, and highly complex visual vocabulary that often involves layered, overlapping and fragmentary imagery. His work simultaneously explores the quotidian (social) and spiritual realms, and invokes an open set of philosophical and psychological associations, referencing the social and cultural traditions (e.g. carnival, cricket), musical legacies (e.g. soca, calypso), folklore, and physical topographies of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as more determinedly personal and (auto)biographical narratives. His work often functions as a counterpoint to his own poetic writings. Embah once stated that this – open-ended, and somewhat cryptic - approach enabled him, as a Trinidadian artist “to present controversial statements – especially those related to culture – without adding to the already ungainly bulk of rhetoric.”
 
He will be greatly missed. RIP Emheyo Bahabba, 1937-2015.
 
Embah (b. 1937) lived and worked in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He had numerous solo exhibitions in Trinidad, including the CCA 7 Gallery, Port of Spain, (2004); Aquarela Galleries, Port of Spain, Trinidad (1989, 90, 91, 92); The National Museum and Art Gallery, Port of Spain (1982/84); and The American Center, Trinidad (1980.) Group shows include ‘Caribbean Art Now’, Commonwealth Institute, London (1986); ‘Seven Trinidadian Artists’, IFA Gallery, Bonn, Germany (1990); ‘Contemporary Paintings: Trinidad and Tobago’, October Gallery, London (1992); and ‘Sing Me A Rainbow: An Artist Medley From Trinidad and Tobago’ (1998, Meridian International Center, Washington D.C., and subsequent U.S. tour); and most recently the widely celebrated exhibition ‘Making & Unmaking’ curated by Duro Olowu at London’s Camden Arts Center (2016.)
 
For further information about this exhibition contact: info@whitecolumns.org         
 
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday / Noon – 6pm.
 
White Columns
320 West 13th Street
New York NY 10014  
212-924-4212
www.whitecolumns.org
 

Exhibition Checklist