Opening | 24-November-2016 | 6:00 PM
Venue: Kuona Art Gallery
Exhibition continues until 31 December 2016
Exhibition by Lemek Tompoika & Paul Njihia interrogating the use of alphanumeric symbols as objects of identity and status.
Numbers are significant symbols in the modern society. They have been used to represent individuals and their positions. In the west, individuals are more identifiable by their Social Security Number, while more recently locally, the Personal Identification Number (P.I.N) has become a more specific form of identification to access various services. These numerical labels are designed by governments and corporations of many countries as a means of tracking individuals for purposes of taxation and other government-related functions therefore aiding institutional discrimination, oppression and inequality among humans.
Lemek Tompoika examines how the use of these symbols has replaced actual persons; how humans become statistics during voting and how names identifiable to local cultures have been replaced by western identification numbers. He uses archival text and imagery from newspapers and emphasizes the perception of newspaper as a status symbol.
Paul Njihia’s work explores how numbers in the education system are used to define students. This is clearly seen in exams whereby the marks that a student gets and ranking position overshadows the students’ characters, talents and other abilities. On the other hand the quality of education is assumed to go hand in hand with the amount of school fees that an institution charges. This obsession with marks, position, fees and other form of numbers has compromised on the quality of education.
‘Wrong Number’ looks at how this system of using symbols/numbers/digits can be manipulated to include or exclude and how it often leads to disenfranchising.