Toyosi's practice cares for matters of embodiment and connectedness. Her work gathers influence from her Yorùbá diasporic identity, leading her in the investigation and experimentation of bodily and cognitive understandings. For now, she attempts to explore metaphorical integrations of the material and the immaterial, the outside and the inside.
‘Iyoba’s Trace’ engages historical narratives of a specific Benin bronze and its plaster copy. It is speculative, set in 20(36), a time in which western museums are wrestling with how to redefine themselves in a moment of mass restitution of stolen and looted artefacts. It considers how the museum can honestly come to terms with its past and instead become a space for emotional processing and recovery for marginalised communities affected by colonial and imperial narratives.
The project imagines the home return of the original artefact, a brass ancestral commemorative head which depicts Iyoba Idia, the first queen mother of the ancient kingdom of Benin, Nigeria. It is currently on display at the British Museum, where it has been kept since 1897. The replica object, left behind in this future, was acquired c.1950’s by the late Duncan Grant, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, and is located on his bedroom window sill at historic house museum, Charleston House. This became the site for a proposed artist residency programme, whereby the inhabitant applies critical imagination with an attempt to re-contextualise the objects, considering their changing meanings and associated rituals to generate a creative construction of (re)memorialisation.
Considering the museum as an archive, a storehouse of memory and a representation of the time, temporality is an underlying theme throughout the project.
(for a break)
if museums are about recording moments...
the clock, a measurement of time, becomes a catalyst
there are interconnected moments in clock-time & travel
migrations across seas and a world divided into zones
take out the battery ,
take elements ,
in an other configuration
objects of time can communicate through
you as a mediator
the material showed signs of wear ,
time’s in flux,
stress, pull, stretch, bend, twist
it’s only matter