Home Magazine TOTEMAI - An exhibition by William Bakaïmo and Adelé Liepa Kaumaité

Bakaïmo dominated the creative residency the week prior to the exhibition. During his stay in Vilnius, artworks created at the residency were showcased alongside the TOTEMAI exhibition, providing a unique glimpse into the artist's creative process.

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In the TOTEMAI exhibition, the two artists William Bakaïmo and Adelė Liepa Kaunaitė, embrace the world of mystical experiences and imagery. The two artists have very distinct cultural backgrounds yet we discover a common theme in their work – totemic beings and objects that serve as key symbols to unlock the depths of the human subconscious.

Traditionally, a totem is defined as an object or being with special powers, as well as a symbol of identity for a certain group in society and union. In the works of both William Bakaïmo and Adelė Liepa Kaunaitė, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic motifs are frequently observed. The narratives and figures in their paintings evoke myths and tales, with totemic beings or objects often appearing as individual elements in their artwork. At times, the entire artwork transforms into a sacred totemic figure. The narratives in their works invite us to free our minds, act intuitively, and reconnect with primal knowledge, existence, and the mythic memory of ancient cultures.

Adelé Liepa Kaunité. Pūga, vasara laive / Blizzard, Summer on Board, 2023. Courtesy of Tumo Gallery

In the creative work of William Bakaïmo (Cameroon), one can recognize a recurring totemic element – the lizard, which is reminiscent of the mythological Lithuanian grass snake. This master of camouflage, constantly changing its color, shedding its old skin, and, when sensing danger, its tail, symbolizes emotional and intellectual growth, the shedding of outgrown, unnecessary forms, and the ability to adapt to changing life circumstances. The lizard, having become the artist's totemic guide, "sleeps within him and constantly sheds its skin to become a new man," in the words of the painter.

Adelė Liepa Kaunaitė's (Lithuania) artworks seem to echo William Bakaïmo's call, sometimes resembling a desert of human consciousness where fairy-tale characters, unicorns, mermaids, planets, and unrestrained brushstrokes come to life. Elements that make up the universe, guided by Adelė's creative hand, begin to narrate stories on canvas about the creation of the world, the collision of planets, the hidden life of plants, and about a human, albeit not a human in the clear sense of human consciousness but rather a being intertwined with the world, a "splotch," as Adelė herself describes.

William Bakaïmo. The Look of the City, 2023. Courtesy of Tumo Gallery

The artists' works question the essence of human existence, which is rooted in the relationship with nature, now constrained and forgotten by many due to modernity. "We need to cultivate our senses to hear the whispers of the elements that make up the universe – the murmurs of wind, fire, water, and celestial bodies – and interpret the messages they convey," says William Bakaïmo. Living nature is instinctive, its rhythm aligns with the natural rhythm of this world, and, according to the artist, by turning to the world of nature and ancestors, people could learn much.

William Bakaïmo visited particioated in the Tumo gallery creative residency from 25th of October to 8th of November, he visited Vilnius and the artworks created during the residency were also exhibited at TOTEMAI exhibition.

Adelė Liepa Kaunaitė. Nepaprastoji padėtis / Emergency situation, 2023. Courtesy of Tumo Gallery

Exhibition TOTEMAI. William Bakaïmo | Adelė Liepa Kaunaitė opened on 8th of November in Tumo gallery (Vilnius, Lithuania).

The exhibition is open for visits till 2nd of December.

Cover image: TOTEMAI Exhibition. Courtesy of Tumo Gallery

Written by Kooness

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