“The quality that we call beauty, however, must always grow from the realities of life, and our ancestors, forced to live in dark rooms, presently came to discover beauty in shadows, ultimately to guide shadows towards beauty’s ends.”
The title is based on Junichiro Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows, who speaks about the importance of shadows in Japanese architecture. The writer approaches the traditional Japanese home as a container of light and shadow.
With this body of work we explore the fertility of the shadow, what is contained in our shadows, and the shadow as a place of dwelling & memory. If we think about the body as a container for light and shadow, wholeness only comes from the embrace of both. In western & religious thought we are encouraged to discard the idea of our shadow, a place of things and memories unwanted. In basic physics we learn that a shadow is formed when light is met with an opaque surface. In colour theory we learn that dark or black objects absorb light rather than reflect it. Using these principals we can conclude that light and shadow cannot exist without one another. If we think about light as something that illuminates the present, then perhaps the shadow is a space of that past.
Toni Morrison, in her work Beloved, uses the term rememory, alluding towards memories from the past forgotten. These can be the things often lurking in our shadows. We often underestimate how much these memories form our current states of being, or how history dictates our navigation of the present. When we look closely at how shadows are formed, light is presented from the front and a shadow is cast behind: the shadow always has an origin point and is always directly connected to the objects it’s projecting.
Fertility of the shadow invites us to explore the memories and richness of our shadows as a way of understanding our past/present/future.
Sun Ra - The Shadow of Tomorrow - 1974
Today is the shadow of tomorrow
Today is the present future of yesterday
Yesterday is the shadow of today.
The darkness of the past is yesterday.
And the light of the past is yesterday.
The days of yesterday are all numbered and summed in the word “once”;
Because “once upon a time there was a yesterday.”
Yesterday belongs to the dead,
Because the dead belongs to the past
The past is yesterday.
About the Artist
Hamed Maiye (b. 1991) is an interdisciplinary artist based in London. He explores themes revolving around memory, magic, visual archiving & magical realism; using various materials which question language, painting & image making. Maiye explores cultural anthropology through the use of mythology, Yoruba philosophy, historical documentation & archiving which influence the production of his work. Maiye's work presents viewers with allegorical scenarios used to invoke introspection, emotional reflections & forged/false memories.
Previous exhibitions include:
Open Studio - Block 336, London (2020)
An Ode to AfroSurrealism - Horniman Museum, London (2021)
‘10’ - PM/AM, London (2021)
Old Friends/New Friends - Collective ending (2021)
Issue 01 - Dada gallery, London (2022)
‘17’ - PM/AM, London (2022)