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Na Chainkua Reindorf: Come, Let Me Spoil Your Things
October 1, 2020 - December 13, 2020Free
For our fall re-opening, Specialist presents Na Chainkua Reindorf’s Come, Let Me Spoil Your Things, a collection of large-scale gouache paintings. Signaling a new direction for Reindorf, this series of works introduces the seven original members of the Mawu Nyonu, a mythological women’s masquerade secret society believed to exist in parts of West Africa today.
The Mawu Nyonu (roughly translated as ‘god-woman’) are believed to have formed as a direct result of the 19th century disbandment of the Dahomey Amazons, an all-female military regiment active in what is now present day Benin. In the imaginative world of Reindorf’s paintings, the Mawu Nyonu function as more than a legend, as they inhabit a world where women can explore their deepest, darkest and often radical desires through the art of masquerade, without fear of repercussion or judgment.
Each painting in Come, Let Me Spoil Your Things takes the form of a flag, introducing each of the Mawu Nyonu characters, who forge the basis of their own unique masquerade. Reindorf’s work pulls inspiration from the colorful appliqué flags and banners from both the Asafo militarized states in Ghana and the former kingdom of Dahomey, Benin. Through the marriage of these distinct characters and objects, combined with a graphic visual language, Reindorf’s paintings act as an invitation into the world of this secret society.
Na Chainkua Reindorf (b. 1991, Ghana) is a mixed media artist and mythmaker. Her work, which ranges from large-scale tapestries to immersive sculptural installations is an exploration of and an ode to the rich cultural history of West African textiles, focusing largely on the complexities and visual culture surrounding masquerades and ceremonial costumes.
Reindorf purposefully incorporates contemporary materials into her work as a way to create new ways of using these historical textiles to explore ongoing social topics including gender, culture and tradition. Reindorf primarily uses natural and artificial fibres and beads for her tapestries, and often includes a large range of materials into her installations. She has also recently began exploring traditional West African ensigns in the form of appliques and paintings.
Reindorf has exhibited internationally in institutions across the United States, as well as in, Nigeria and Ghana.