Do Not Resuscitate… An inclusive converge for motherland
--> Tolu Aliki’s Let Bygones Be Bygones
By Tajudeen Sowole
Stepping out of the regular or commercial art into issue-based theme should not be an expression confined within certain genres under conceptual art, so suggests Do Not Resuscitate, the art exhibition segment of Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) 2011.
Curated by Nkechi Nwosu-Igbo through the Media Red Studio, Do Not Resuscitate offered the visual artists space to address the socio-economic and political challenges facing Nigeria. Bringing performance, video and installation art in the same space with painting, the show portrayed an all-inclusive and democratic approach to conceptual art.
Installation artist, Nkechi Nwosu-Igbo and performance/video artist Jelili Atiku, although shared the same space with painters such as Bob-Nosa Uwagboe, Tolu Aliki and filmmaker, photo artist Aderemi Adegbite in the inclusive gathering, each artist’s identity still manifested. And then came a word spice from performance poet, Iquo Eke, who lent her vocal prowess to the exhibition.
Installation, Oily Bride (wrapping paper, ribbon, wire and glass) by Nkechi Nwosu-Igbo.
In a reflective moment of a people in search of direction, Atiku, in his performance installation, Rawson’s Boat attempted a re-enactment of the Benin punitive expedition of 1897 led by British colonial naval officer, Rear-Admiral Harry Rawson. Atiku states: “Rear-Admiral Harry Rawson and his team looted and destroyed monuments and houses of many high-ranking chiefs, particularly the palace of Benin king. In order to defray the costs of the expedition, the British Admiralty confiscated and auctioned off more than 3,000 Benin artifacts as war booty”.
Atiku notes that though it happened over a century ago, “the memories, mnemonics and healing associated with this looting are lingering.”
Adegbite’s video work, Ghetto Games, reflects on the joy and excitement of people living in environment, representing a typical living moment in most slums of developing countries.
From his pop art-like rendition, which makes his painting a breath of fresh air in Nigeria’s art landscape, Aliki contributed works that dwelt on tolerance and forgiveness. This much he depicted in acrylic on canvas, Let Bygone Be Bygone, We Are A Patient People and Hopeful.
Stylised-impressionism painter, Uwagboe, whose expressions in distorted figures challenge the rules of art, joined the search for a better world with his body of work, Occupy Nigeria. In Peaceful Protest for Global Peace (acrylic on canvas), the artist highlighted economic and political imbalance pervading the world.
Jelili Atiku in the performance, Rawson’s Boat.
According to the curator of the exhibition, Do Not
Resuscitate serves as a creative gathering that explores “how artistic interventions can be used to reform or be the catalyst needed to take decisions about finally moving our society forward, especially with the recent security threats and continuous economic conditions”.
She noted that at 51, Nigeria stands between the choice of prolonging its end artificially, or die a natural death.
On the concept of the exhibition, Nwosu-Igbo explained that it was to bring individual projects of the artists under a “site-specific” situation. Freedom Park, Lagos Island as the venue of the 2011 LABAF, she argued, has a link to political and cultural history of the country; “It reflects on history, memory, and identity through video art, found objects, installations, poetry, paintings, performances, and open air discussions.”
The challenge of Nigerians putting the country first, appeared to be the focus of Nwosu-Igbo’s I Am Still Nkechi. In the installation, she urged Nigerians to “ponder on the flexibility of identities” in the context of national interest.
Also, Eke, in her poetry performance dwelt on collective effort to build the nation. She charged the people to “arise from the vermin in the glimpse of dusk,
before the embrace of dawn.” She warned: “Let us not resuscitate, lest our vision be benighted, for time is the appealing distance between the pain of becoming and the joy of our prime.”
Uwagboe was born on November 26, 1974 in Benin City, Edo State. He specialises in painting and mixed media after graduating from Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State. He had further training at Enebeli Arts Studio, Benin City. He is a full time studio artist in Lagos. Some of his recent shows included The Last Pictures Show, a tour and group exhibition in Lagos, Douala (Cameroun) and Paris, France, two solos, Homme Libre at African Artists Foundation (AAF) and MGallery Hotel, (formerly Sofitel), Ikoyi, Lagos.
Atiku, also a sculptor, has, since 2009, been involved in performance art projects, home and abroad in such works as In the Red, Victim of Political Assassination at Rencontres Internationales in Paris, Berlin and Madrid. He also featured at the Geisai 12 Contemporary Art Fair, Tokyo, Japan, 16th Festival International D’Art Video de Casablanca, Morocco, Old News #6, Malmo, Lagos and Freedom to Create Prize, Singapore.
Adegbite was born on February 28, 1982. He is a young filmmaker and a photographer.
Aderemi’s second short film, Ghetto Games won In My Backyard category at the One-Minute Africa Video competition in Egypt. His exhibitions include Lagos on a Sane-day, AAF/Etisalat Amateur Photography at Civic Center, in 2011; Youthful Useful at Creative Wall Voices – Inter-cultural Online; Lagos Photo Festival, at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.
Bob-Nosa Uwagboe’s Occupy Nigeria.
Aliki, a self-taught painter was born on February 7, 1976. He has B.A in Mass Communication from Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) Ogun State. His work was on sale at the 2011 auction of Terra Kulture. His solo exhibitions include Intimate Moments at Nike Art Gallery, Lekki, Lagos (the 2001), Evolution, at Colorida Art Gallery, Lisbon Portugal ((2010), Colours of Passion, at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos (the 2009)
Eke was born on January 22, 1980. She has a BSc in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. She is married with children. Iquo is a writer, actress and performance poet who renders her words to the accompaniment of instruments such as traditional drums, flute and/or strings.