press release

Mae-ling Lokko
Grounds for Return
September 26, 2021–January 9, 2022

Z33 presents the first solo exhibition by the Ghanaian-Filipina architectural scientist and designer Mae-ling Lokko. Grounds for Return brings together her designs for economic and ecological justice.

Lokko’s work focuses on the design of bio-based materials and the upcycling of agricultural waste. She combines the production of food and building materials in a regenerative, cyclical process that returns nutrients to the soil. The trajectory of the exhibition follows the cycle in which crops and dwellings sprout from the earth, and subsequently in their growth and decay, restore life to the land and its people. The exhibition title references the metaphorical door(s) of no return, a historic threshold in Ghana that symbolizes both the forced transport of enslaved individuals from their homeland and the relentless extraction of natural resources from West Africa. By contrast, Lokko proposes a physical and psychological return to African grounds. She uses agricultural waste and fungal mycelium to create a sensory and symbolic path toward healing.

Grounds for Return consists of a series of installations created specifically for Z33, including among others a series of screen printed drawings designed with Nana Afua Pierre Haynes and a communal table developed by Lokko and Selassie Atadika during their inaugural Tema Artist Residency with the Ghanaian artist El Anatsui in Accra.

Artists: Mae-ling Lokko, Nana Afua Pierre Haynes, Selassie Atadika

Curators: Silvia Franceschini, Tim Roerig, Heleen Van Loon
Special thanks to: El Anatsui, Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology, RPI, Rensselaer School of Architecture, Liverpool Biennial, Forecast