Sunday 24 August 2014

Jobuurg Art Fair 2014... Omenka is the face of Nigerian art

By Tajudeen Sowole
Gerry Nnubia, Kelani Abass, and Jefferson Jonahan join the list of artists on the international representation of Omenka Gallery as the Joburg Art Fair, in South Africa holds from September 7-9, 2014.

They swell the numberof Nigerian artists, in recent times, that are partnering with local and international galleries to tap from the sudden rise of African art at the global market.

A periodic collage concept on Oba (King) Adetokunbo Ademola, by Kelani Abbas
In the last one year, Omenka has taken Nigerian artists to major international art fairs around the world, including Art Dubai, (UAE), the Joburg Art Fair, Cape Town, (South Africa) Loop, Barcelona (Spain), Cologne Paper Art (Germany), Art14, and 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, both in London (U.K.).

At the Sandton Convention Centre, next month,  Omenka joins other galleries for the 5th yearly event. The participating galleries include  PGalerie Baudoin Lebon, Ed Cross Fine Art, Jack Bell, ARTCO Gallery, Kijk Galerie, Bailey Seippel Gallery, Erdman Contemporary, David Krut Projects, Museum of Modern Art Equatorial Guinea, Everard Read Gallery, Fred Gallery, Brundyn+Gonsalves, Gallery Art on Paper, Gallery MOMO, Goodman Gallery, Rooke Gallery, Barnard Gallery, SMAC Art Gallery, Stevenson Gallery, Galerie Galea, Artspace and Whatiftheworld Gallery.

Few months ago, Omenka took the woorks of J.D Okhai Ojeikere and a South Africa-based American painter, Gary Stephens to Art 14 Fair in London, UK,. Then, it was like an extension of  Networks and Voids: Modern Interpretations of Nigerian Hairstyles and Headdresses', a two-artists exhibition at Omenka Gallery, Ikoyi, Laggos last year.

The organisers of Joburg Art Fair,  in a sttatement noted that the fair has survived beyond the 2-year expected life span of large scale art events in the harsh climate of the South African cultural landscape. The Joburg Art Fair has a clear focus to building a sustainable art-buying market by expanding beyond established art-buyers and bringing the international and local crowd together.
On  the works the artists being taken to Joburg Art Fair, Omenka writes:  "Nnubia’s technique involves the skillful manipulation of his medium to a liquid, viscous flow, often assimilating accidental occurrences and temperature adjustments, depending on the effect sought. Here the artist offers critical possibilities for painting, and explores the tensions between form and formlessness vital to the tenets of modernism.

 " Kelani’s work increasingly probes the difficult relations of belonging and identity and in particular, the shared history of man and machines through a wide range of different media including sound. In addition to acrylics, oils, pastels and charcoal, he employs modeling paste, disused printing machine parts, and collages of magazine cut-outs and newsprint in his work.

 " Jonahan draws on historical and mythological references in most of his work. He employs a limited palette and restricts many of his compositions to a single human figure or face, his sensitivity to light and shadow, and the fundamental characteristics of the medium assuming the focus.
 The fair aims to create a platform to provoke discourse on the development of modern and contemporary African art.

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