aya: the debut solo exhibition of Elisabeth Efua Sutherland at Gallery 1957 honours rites of reflection, endurance, and meditation. Nestled in a grove of ferns and selected plants, twelve heads- ntiri- serve as memoriam, or maybe as witness - sculpted portraits through which Sutherland echoes the tradition of Akan female potters, who in precolonial times cast terracotta heads to commemorate the deceased.
Birthed from the same master moulds, each head is given a distinct identity by cracking, carving and handmarking. Sutherland crafts these busts from layers of ayilo- white clay, plaster, white cement, and red earth, merging and manipulating industrial and natural material in the alchemical process of casting.
The relationship between earth, humanity, and heritage frames the exhibition, exploring how identity and legacy could be shaped by our environment, both spiritually and physically. The earth is with us, and of us, but extends beyond us. Through text and texture, Sutherland offers a reflection on how she makes sense of our relationship with the earth through ritual figures, identity, religion, and nature.
Exhibition continues until 15 February 2020