Sunday 8 March 2020

Anedu's 'Mistakes I Chose to Keep' in Primitivism

Wildflowers II (acrylic, oil, pastel, charcoal on canvas, 2019), by Edozie Anedu.
 While artists outside the formal training environments, most often, carry the burden of proving their worth by rendering portraiture in
realism form, Edozie Anedu differs.

Apart from daring to go into the realm of naivety, primitivism and highly stylised representational art, Anedu injects quite a depth of critical thematic contents into his strokes.

Quietly, his works on canvas and mixed media of discarded materials was shown in a solo as Mistakes I Chose to Keep, few weeks ago, at a workstation space along Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Anedu, his kind of work and venue of debut solo in Lagos have one thing in common - freshness. Apart from showing as one of the ten finalists at Next of Kin (2019) art competition and exhibition,
organised by Thought Pyramid Art Centre, in Lagos, Anedu’s art was really unfamiliar.

From post-Renaissance to impressionist eras, artists have proven that it takes quite a rich experience acquired overtime, to achieve mastery of any form of art. For primitivism art, of which Anedu's brushstrokes are immersed, it becomes more complex. Two factors are obvious in his own situation: the artist is coming from a self-taught background and also fresh on the Nigerian art environment. His art is most likely to be viewed from suspicion of 'escapism' rather than a conscious and deliberate choice of expressionism.

However, in contextual and thematic narratives, Anedu's art communicates a depth of critical contents through the conduit of subjectivity in visual expressionism. His style is as straight and as consistence with no eclectic textures, so suggest the displays of the exhibits at Flat 16, 8th floor of a high-rise building. The artist’s 'Mistakes…' include 18 new works, some of which have been described as “formerly discarded, reworked pieces” inspired by the exhibition’s central theme.
From a crowded figurative titled Advent of the Wheel to others such as Self Portraits series and Longsuffering as well as Wildflower, an artist not in a haste for adventurous strokes is obvious. From one step of view to another, as the curator, Wunika Mukan led a guest through the exhibits, Aniedu’s stable styles in either combinations of shades, lights and hues of colours or covert frays into cubism, suggests a strength in consistency.

During the visit to the exhibition, Mukan told her guest that despite the fact that Anedu’s work is not known in Nigeria, “he has been making quite some impacts abroad, South Africa, specifically.” In a curatorial note, she noted that each piece of Anedu’s paintings tells “a coming of age story - a journey of excitement, adjustments and hopeful rush to the future – while at the same time embracing moments of melancholy and memories of past people, places and things.”
‘Advent of the wheel’ (acrylic, oil and pastel on canvas,
2019) by Edozie Anedu.

The artist’s application of materials of materials, perhaps in the areas of bold colours excites the curator too. “Working primarily with oils on canvas and recyclable materials, Edozie employs an aggressive use of colour with ill-drawn figures to express emotion, initiate conversation and catch attention.”

On the naive style, Mukan noted that the artist gets his strength from being accidental in creating the contents. “His childlike and sometimes aggressive strokes make room for accidents and give his paintings that unique, seemingly effortlessly haphazard appearance.”

Anedu was born and raised in Benin City. His style is described as focusing “on the human condition, socio political ideologies and pop-culture.”
-Tajudeen Sowole.

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