Nnena Kalu (b. 1966 in Glasgow, UK) lives and Works in London, UK. Kalu has been developing her arts practice at ActionSpace’s studio in Studio Voltaire, South London since 1999. In the early years she worked predominantly in 2D and collage, gradually building her methodology and approach to layering materials.
Since 2009 Kalu has focused on developing sculptural forms and site-specific installations. She initially created small wrapped cocoon-like forms, binding materials such as plastics and paper together with tape and wool. Her confidence and determination with this process quickly grew and when given the opportunity to work in a larger space her sculptures evolved into more substantial and complex forms.
Kalu thrives when given a public platform to develop and share her practice. She created extensive site-specific installations in public settings at the Southside Shopping Centre Wandsworth, London in 2010, 2011, 2014 and Tooting Market, London in May 2012 for the ‘Part of It’ series.
She also created a site-specific installation for the ‘Dizziness of Freedom’ exhibition in the Bermondsey Project Space, London in 2014. In 2016 Kalu was one of 4 international artists invited by Mad Musee to develop a largescale installation for the ‘Capharnaum’ exhibition at the Theatre De Liege. Her three fellow artists were Hendrick Heffnick, Pascal Tassini and Selbermann, all established artists in their home countries.
In 2016, Kalu exhibited in the following group shows: Paris Outsider Art Fair, Hotel du Duc; Threads Contemporary textile Open, Salisbury Arts Centre; Group show Magical Offspring, Geddes Gallery; Imagine if that said…. Safe House II; Watch This Space, Wandsworth Fringe, Southside Shopping Centre; Site-specific Installation and group show Voltaire Open, Studio Voltaire; Radical Craft: Alternative Ways of Making, Pallant House Gallery and UK tour; Capharnaum, Theatre De Liege, Belgium. Site-specific installation and group show.
Nnena Kalu is an artist working with the disability arts organisation Action Space in London. To create her work, she binds and layers materials to create large, colourful structures that wrap themselves around the gallery, reacting to the size, shape and environment of each new setting.
An array of different colours and textures adorn her wrapped installations and they grow from a small curious object in the space, into a large, immersive presence which transforms the gallery into a vessel for these organic forms to inhabit. Kalu will be in residence with Project Ability during the first week of the festival; watching her work is a mesmerising experience.
Visitors can see Nnena Kalu create her work in situ, during the first week of the festival.
Fri 20 April – Sat 26 May
Mon – Sat, 10am-5pm