Making & Unmaking: an Exhibition Curated by Duro Olowu - Camden Art Centre

Duro Olowu (b.1965 Lagos) is a celebrated fashion designer whose bold innovations with pattern, colour and shape reveal his early influences living between Nigeria and Europe, and his ongoing fascination with the world.

His fluency with diverse aesthetics can be seen in the clothes he makes as well as the exhibitions he has curated, which combine antique textiles with his own fabric designs, bringing together discordant colours and patterns alongside disparate cultural forms.

Filling all three galleries, the Central Space, Reading Room and Garden, this exhibition drew together over 70 artists from around the world spanning this century and the last, including 19th century textiles made by unknown hands. Individually, each work had a story to tell; collectively, they began a conversation in which visual, narrative and thematic relationships unfold. This eclectic collage of works, some of which have strong political undercurrents, addressed issues surrounding cultural identity, sexuality and the representation of the body. Olowu’s exhibition invited a multifaceted journey of encounters with the intuition, skill and vision of the artists represented within it.

Artists featured: Caroline Achaintre, Marina Adams, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Anni Albers, Tasha Amini, Hurvin Anderson, Polly Apfelbaum, Tony Armstrong Jones, Emheyo Bahabba, Walead Beshty, Alighiero Boetti, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Bove, Lisa Brice, James Brown, Zoe Buckman, Claude Cahun, Lygia Clark, Céline Condorelli, Tommaso Corvi-Mora, Dossa Z. Cosme, Alexandre da Cunha, Andreas Eriksson, Meredith Frampton, Simon Fujiwara, Anya Gallaccio, Hassan Hajjaj, Sheila Hicks, Donna Huddleston, Diane Itter, Isaac Julien, Neil Kenlock, Fernand Léger, Eric Mack, Peter McDonald, Rodney McMillian, Hamidou Maiga, Ari Marcopoulos, Brice Marden, Wardell Milan, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Wangechi Mutu, Alice Neel, Nobukho Nqaba, Chris Ofili, Horace Ové CBE, Irving Penn, Tal R, Michael Roberts, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Malick Sidibé, Lorna Simpson, Daniel Sinsel, Christiana Soulou, Dorothea Tanning, Henry Taylor, thousand pictures, Bill Traylor, Francis Upritchard, Al Vandenberg, Brent Wadden, Grace Wales Bonner, Rebecca Ward, West African Textiles, Stanley Whitney, Kehinde Wiley, Masaaki Yamada, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Images Artist Film Events Supported by

This film was produced on the occasion of Making & Unmaking: An exhibition curated by Duro Olowu (19 June - 18 September 2016).

Talk: Introductory Talk

Saturday 18 June, 3.00 – 3.45pm
Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York talked with designer Duro Olowu about his choice of works and artists for Making & Unmaking, prior to the exhibition opening 4.00 – 6.00pm.
Watch on demand below.



Introductory talk: Duro Olowu in conversation with Thelma Golden.

Talk: Glenn Ligon and Duro Olowu

Sunday 19 June, 3.00 – 4.00pm
Artist Glenn Ligon talked to Duro Olowu, curator of Making & Unmaking. Ligon and Olowu discussed what inspires Olowu’s work both as a designer and curator and how these modes of practice complement one another.

Educators’ Summer Social

Wednesday 22 June, 6.00 – 7.00pm
A celebration of the end of term and our then new exhibition Making & Unmaking curated by Duro Olowu. This evening was a chance to meet the Education Team, take part in an informal tour and engage with new resources.

Talk: Caroline Achaintre and Donna Huddleston

Wednesday 20th July
Writer, art critic and co-editor of frieze, Jennifer Higgie led a discussion with artists Caroline Achaintre and Donna Huddleston. Higgie takes her essay Thoughts on Making and Unmaking as a starting point for a conversation about process and materials.

Talk: Duro Olowu and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Wednesday 7 September, 7.00 – 8.00pm
Duro Olowu and artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye discussed ways of making and inspirations behind her work.

Talk: Duro Olowu and Dr Nicholas Cullinan

Saturday 10 September, 3.00 – 4.00pm
Duro Olowu and Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of National Portrait Gallery, talked with Neil Kenlock about his approach to photography and how this has been influenced by his cultural landscape.

Panel Discussion: Opacity, Not Obscurity: Moving Difference Beyond Categorisation

17 September
Artist Evan Ifekoya leads a panel discussion looking at representations of ‘otherness’ in portraiture and film in Britain. Referencing Édouard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation, the talk addresses issues of diaspora; how these representations play out in relation to the ‘other’ being subject, author or both in the works in the exhibition. Speakers include: independent curator, Nazmia Jamal; artist, Harold Offeh and designer, Grace Wales Bonner.


This event is programmed alongside Making & Unmaking: An exhibition curated by Duro Olowu at Camden Art Centre.

Music: Shabaka Hutchings

11 September 2016

Saxophonist and composer Shabaka Hutchings, recently nominated for the 2016 Mercury Prize as part of the band The Comet is Coming, reveals some of his processes in making music arrangements by creating a live composition in our Artists’ Studio. Inviting an array of musicians to contribute throughout the afternoon, the composition will layer the various parts written by Hutchings.

Shabaka Hutchings (b. London, 1984) is a saxophonist, band leader and composer.  His primary projects include the group Sons of Kemet which won the 2013 MOBO Award for Jazz Act of the Year and The Comet is Coming who are nominated for the 2016 Mercury Prize for their album Channel the Spirits. In 2014 Hutchings was also invited to join the Sun Ra Arkestra. In 2010 Hutchings was granted the title of BBC Radio 3 New Generation of Artists.  He was recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Composer Award 2014 and the winner of the Jazz FM Instrumentalist of the Year 2015. He has recorded with numerous artists including Courtney Pine’s Jazz Warriors, Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics, Polar Bear and Soweto Kinch.

Supported by Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and The London Community Foundation