Saturday, 20 August 2011

Otobong Nkanga, Odun Orimolade, Amuche Nnabueze, Adejoke ‘Wahala Temi’ Tugbiyele and Temitayo Ogunbiyi,

All We Ever Wanted... Ladies' artistic satisfaction
BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE Sunday, 14 August 2011 00:00

Adejoke's Moskito Ministry (2010), African beads, copper wire and Naira notes
WHEN Otobong Nkanga, Odun Orimolade, Amuche Nnabueze, Adejoke ‘Wahala Temi’ Tugbiyele and Temitayo Ogunbiyi, decided to have a show titled All We Ever Wanted, what, certainly, was on their mind was to make a bold statement in the exhibition circuit.
Currently showing at the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Sabo, Yaba, Lagos, the outcome of these desires expressed in drawing, collage-painting, photography, sculpture and craft-installation, is the coming of fresh dawn in art shows in Lagos.
Curated by Bisi Silva, each of the medium uses something new, either in aesthetics or presentation: painting is not the usual colour on canvas; sculpture adds life to 3-D imagery; craft takes another leap in presentation.
   For Nkanga’s Souvenir of a Monument I (2001), a focus on one of Nigeria’s abandoned relics  —  the Independence Building near Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos Island — offers a preparatory window for a performance in front of this historical building, later in the year.
   Three pictures of the building taken by unknown photographer(s) and shown in postcard format, tells its story from the period of construction in 1961 to completion in 1962.
While the reproduced pictures, in black and white, could either make viewer grin in pains for a country that lacks culture of preservation, texts on the back of these souvenirs offer a little, but important information: 25 floors, 300ft from ground level to roof; built by G. Cappa Limited Building Contractors; Photograph, c/o of Nigeria Magazine, December 1962, No 75.

HOWEVER, Nkanga wants more: “I therefore decide to intervene by transporting myself into a portable stand / shop – equipped with info, item for sale.”
She hopes that before the performance, and through the ongoing show, she would have gathered enough materials and information on which to begin a dialogue with passers-by, visitors and locals who live or work nearby.”
   When Orimolade says her wants are endless and insatiable, this much, she depicts in drawings that lean towards surrealism and abstraction. And no matter how she attempts to express this in the monochrome work, the finality, she explains, is about being ‘contented.’
    The concept of this gathering is about freedom to “imagine a better world and the opportunity to communicate ideas through my works,” Tugbiyele explains.
And with sculptures she calls Moskito Ministry, the US-based artist, in this satirical depiction, seems to be saying there is a link between blood sucking and man’s passion for materialism, even at the pinnacle of faith.
   But beyond her thoughts, the aesthetics and composite of each of the two works made in beads, copper wire and cutouts from Naira notes take one into a realm that blurs the line between craft and Fine Art.
   On taking a risky leap into the future with the attempt to redefine what is art, as the show’s characters suggest; New York-based Ogunbiyi’s epitomise boldness, which is totally alien in Lagos art space.

TWO solo shows (or Salons) and now a group outing, her works are getting, uniquely familiar in the painting-collage as well as print medium. She says, “incorporating various sources, random materials and degrees of abstraction, I am to create work that invites viewers to enter my work as they see it, regardless of my stance.”
   With the installation prefix on Nnabueze’s Hybrid, crafts get a leap from a lower cadre of the creative family. Almost hidden, at the extreme end of CCA gallery, these works, either in woven or other forms sprinkled or hung, stress her thoughts on what she explains as “ideas and emotions” of whatever she could feel or touch.

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