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African and Middle Eastern sculpture showcase comes to Efiε Gallery

Updated: May 20

Art that explores our connections to the earth through the works of two sculptors from East Africa and the Middle East goes on display in a Dubai gallery later this month.

Dr. Mohamed Yousif, Gazelles, 2005. Exhaust pipes, bicycle wheels, and metal wires. Courtesy of Efiε Gallery and artist
Dr Mohamed Yousif, Gazelles, 2005. Exhaust pipes, bicycle wheels, and metal wires. Courtesy of Efiε Gallery and artist

'Solace in Soil' is a duo exhibition at the Efiε Gallery that will feature Emirati artist Dr Mohamed Yousif and Kenyan sculptor Maggie Otieno - both of whom will debut their work at the Gallery for the first time.


'Solace in Soil', which opens on 31 May, is curated by Emirati Shame Al Mheiri.


The exhibition aims to highlight the symbiotic exchange between the artists and their artistic practices, intimately linked to their earthy foundations, enabling their work to converse and showcase the interconnectedness between the regions.

Maggie Otieno, Still Whole, 2024. 77.4 cm x 24.1 cm x 27.9 cm. Mild Steel. Courtesy of Efie Gallery and Artist.
Maggie Otieno, Still Whole, 2024. 77.4 cm x 24.1 cm x 27.9 cm. Mild Steel. Courtesy of Efiɛ Gallery and artist.

Emirati artist

Mohamed is a two-time Venice Biennale participant. His works were featured in the National Pavilion of the UAE at the Venice Biennial in 2015 and in 2017; Language of the Desert at the Kunstmuseum in Bonn, Germany, in 2005. He received the First Golden Prize at the Bangladesh Biennial in 2004), and the 5th New Delhi Biennial, India in 1982.


His work is a distillation of his engagement with and contemplation of the natural environment, where he explores notions of motion and stillness through sculpture.

Dr. Mohamed Yousif courtesy of artist and Efie Gallery
Dr. Mohamed Yousif courtesy of artist and Efiε Gallery

Kenyan artist

Maggie’s showcase will be her first since her sold-out debut at Art Dubai 2024.


She began her practice in art as a painter, joining Kuona Trust Arts Centre in Kenya in 1996, where she was first introduced to sculpture by Elijah Ogira.


Upon falling in love with 3-D medium, she become a full time sculptor.


Although not formally trained, Maggie pushed her practice in sculptor through experimentation and curiosity.

Maggie Otieno courtesy of artist and Efiε Gallery
Maggie Otieno courtesy of artist and Efiε Gallery

Through abstract long figures compromising 150 year old distressed railway sleepers, her current work captures social commentary and diverse experiences of human forms.


Kwame Mintah, the director at the Efiε Gallery, said: “Since the genesis of Efiε Gallery we continuously strive to be a cross-cultural bridge between Africa and the Middle East, highlighting not only the beauty and creativity of the two regions but their symbiosis.”


The Gallery

Efiε Gallery was founded by Ghanaian family Valentina, Kobi and Kwame Mintah in 2022.


The Gallery specialises in the representation and advancement of artists of African origin, both from the African continent and its global diaspora. It also supports cross-cultural exchange between Africa and the Middle East.


Artists represented by the Gallery include El Anatsui, Aïda Muluneh, Maggie Otieno, Abdoulaye Konaté and Yaw Owusu.


Efiε is the Twi word for 'home', addressing the notion of belonging and how it can be determined by culture, history and identity for communities across the world.


The exhibition runs until 6 October. Efiε Gallery, Unit 2, Al Khayat Art Avenue, 19th Street - Al Quoz 1.


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