Absa is proud to extend an invitation to the public to the Absa L’Atelier 2021 Ambassadors joint exhibition. The exhibition, supported by the theme ‘Refuge: An uncommon home’, is hosted by Absa until 27 January 2023.

This collaborative exhibition will showcase recently produced artworks by the 2021 Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors Dr Adelheid Frackiewicz from South Africa, Ayobola Kekere-Ekun from Nigeria, and Michael Blebo from Ghana – before travelling to each of the winner’s respective countries in 2023.

Through their art, these three artists undertook a journey of self-reflection, during which their art-making process allowed them to reflect on their personal trauma, addressing their fear of what was and what might be, while giving them the strength to face their anxiety about the unknown.

Using a combination of found objects and traditional art materials, the production of their eventual artworks has been a delicate yet challenging process, allowing each artist an opportunity of find refuge and tranquillity in their own space.

Absa Senior Specialist Art Curator, Dr Paul Bayliss, says they chose the theme as it empowers the creation of artwork through either painting, sculpture and/or installation, which involves processes that allow the artist to think and work through their anxieties regarding trauma.

“These anxieties stem from a lost childhood due to trauma, a fear that something could happen or due to intergenerational anxiety passed down. It is through reimagining their home, which is not only a physical space of materiality, that it becomes a refuge from what was,” he says.

The artworks in the exhibition combine painting, sculpture and installation; artworks that explore the element of form, space, and time, presenting the audience with a shifting perspective on materiality.

“This exhibition is in line with our ethos of making possibilities come to life for visual artists and we are using this to launch new works by our 2021 Absa L’Atelier Ambassadors. In addition to this collaborative exhibition by these three young talented artists, each artist will, within the next five years, be taking up a solo exhibition in the Absa Gallery,” he adds.

Refuge: An uncommon home is open on the Absa Art Hot Spot and open for public viewing at the Absa Gallery in Johannesburg until 27 January 2023.

The 2023 competition is open for entries from 1 April to 31 May 2023. For inspiration and further information visit the Absa L’Atelier website.


Infection I by Ayobola Kekere-Ekun; Mixed media installation (ribbons on household objects); 2022. Image courtesy of the Absa Gallery


How to keep a secret IV by Ayobola Kekere-Ekun; Mixed media (paper, fabric and acrylic on canvas); 2022. Image courtesy of the Absa Gallery.



Implants (installation) by Adelheid Frackiewicz; White concrete, earth; 2022. Image courtesy of the Absa Gallery.


Soap Memorial (triptych) by Adelheid Frackiewicz; Site specific earth from Nazi concentration camps in Poland, animal bone ash, soap, hair, nail clippings, breast milk, chewing gum, ash, resin; 2022. Image courtesy of the Absa Gallery.


Michael Jackson Blebo with his artwork Parallel Realm (Triptych); Ochre, Phyto, Charcoal, Beeswax, Mirror on Chipboard; 2022. Image courtesy of the Absa Gallery.


The Absa L’Atelier 2021 Ambassadors at the opening of their collaboration exhibition in the Absa Gallery, from left: Ayobola Kekere-Ekun, Michael Jackson Blebo and Adelheid Frackiewicz.



Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!