Up To No Good

19 November 2022 - 18 February 2023

Na Chainkua Reindorf (b. 1991, Ghana) is a mixed media artist and mythmaker. Her work, which ranges from large-scale tapestries and paintings 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. She incorporates contemporary materials into her work, using these historical textiles and costumes as inspiration to investigate ongoing social topics centered on the politics of dress, identity and gender and their close relation to culture and tradition. 

This new body of work presented in the exhibition ‘Up to No Good', is the newest addition to the artist’s ongoing project ‘Mawu Nyonu’. Mawu Nyonu (roughly translated from Ewe as ‘God is a woman’) is a fictional secret society of Reindorf’s imagination that explores deviance and nonconformity through the art of masquerading. The paintings that feature in this exhibition serve as an initial visual introduction to the seven characters (referred to as skins or 'Glanu') that make up Mawu Nyonu.

 

Pulling inspiration from her own lived experiences as well as historical descriptions of the Mino warriors, the Dahomean all-female military regiment, and the hierarchies in Vodun cosmology, Reindorf explores themes of world-building and storytelling to fashion fantastical alter-egos rooted in the contemporary, each embodying extreme traits that explore and celebrate unrestrained self-expression.

Na Chainkua has exhibited internationally in institutions across the United States, as well as in France, Germany, Italy, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Nigeria, in Ghana at the Nubuke Foundation and most recently in the Ghana Pavilion of the 2022 Venice Biennale.