Thursday 30 June 2022

How Pan African Artists' Dak'Art show engaged 'Space, Metaphors As Memory'

Exhibiting members of Pan African Core of Artists (PACA) at Dak'Art 2022... recently.

PERHAPS, in one of its largest gathering ever, the Pan Africa Circle of Artists (PACA), converged at 2022 Dak'Art 'Off', and showed 'Engaging Space and Its Metaphors As Memory', from May 21-29, 2022, at Daniel Sorano National Theatre, Dakar, Senegal.

Over 40 artists members of PACA had their works, across genres and medium participated at the event. Artists who also showed at the exhibition and doubled as Organising Committee included Michael Kpodoh, President, PACA Nigeria; Mor Faye Murf, President, PACA Senegal; Ayo Adewunmi, Ph.D., University of Nigeria, Usukka; Johnson Uwadinma, General Secretary, PACA Nigeria; Kent Onah, Port Auchi, Nigeria-based artist; and co-curator, Miriam Sekou Coulibaly.

PACA's last exhibition, with the theme Status and Work Condition of the Artists and Cultural Actors in Africa was held in Senegal, in 2018.

Among other exhibited artists at the Dak'Art 2022 Off section are: Chinedu Ogakwu, Moses Ibanga, Ojemekele Ighodalo Peter, Nefe Ogodo, Agbezin Bamidele George, Mohammed Adebayo Yusuf, Harrison Ikechukwu Ugwu, Rose Blakk, Ozangeobuoma Prince Orlu and Elizabeth Chioma Ekpetorson.

 "The concept or word SPACE has multiple dimensions to reality. Space has many references to philosophy and correlates with the concept of TIME," Prof Frank Ugiomoh wrote in a review published in the catalogue of the exhibition. "Art's translation of reality also contends with the concept of space."

Ugiomoh, Ph.D., a Professor of history of art and theory, and Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Professor of Fine art and Design, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria added: "Not done, the human understanding of space, however, links with philosophy. In Philosophy, space permits understanding of how things and events relate to one another. The concept of time plays a crucial role in such insight. The scale of reference in the sequence of things and happenings defines time. In defining time relative to happenings, occurrences appear as demarcations. Space translates to a void when devoid of events that define time. Hence some philosophers regard space as an accessory to things."

Excerpts from Ugiomoh' review: "The consciousness of time belongs to humans and tracked in what humans do. Such awareness undergirds the expectations in this exhibition. No matter what, human actions translate as cultural codes that eventually define time within the limitlessness of space. The accumulation of human actions studied in history relates to the demands here. As a prominent member of any community, the visual artist plays diverse roles within its social and cultural space. They generate metaphors, as much as they make up the pile of the identity of any society.

"The concept of MEMORY functions within two registers to store or retain and retrieve what the individual stores. An accessory of things remains a challenge to society regarding their accountability. The artist remains loyal to retrieving what society creates. Steadfastness becomes what the genuine artist has as an enviable quality. The artist efficiently acts on short-term memory to offer to society imprints derived from external stimuli, usually iconic or semantic memory engaging general information built over years of storing different stimuli and their value-effects. The artist differs from the non-artist because of their steadfastness in representing dimensions of memory garnered while living in society.

"Art, thus, amounts to the remnants of an artist's encounter with the sensible world of sight, touch, and feeling. Having discussed space from a philosophical perspective, we encounter the graphic space with the artist, hence. Plato, in derogation, referred to the artist as a fake who imitates reality. Otto G. Ocvirc et al. (1998), in the book Art Fundamentals: Theory and Practice, a McGraw Hill publication, reminds us that the artist engages “plastic space;” and that plastic space ensues from spatial imagery. “Artists base much of their work on their experiences in the objective world, and it is a natural conclusion that they should explore the spatial resources” (181). They further note that “[a]ll spatial implications are spatially conditioned by the environment and experience of the viewer. Vision is experienced through the eyes but interpreted through the mind. Perception involves the whole pattern of nerve and brain response to a visual stimulus” (ibid).

"Ocvirc's allusions relate to how an individual engages experience and interpretation of vision. Vision remains core to memory from an individual perspective. We do not relate to items of vision uniformly. Hence the entries here report different interpretations of memory as metaphors. Art presents, always, the richness of memory while exploring spatial dimensions of reality. The metaphor relives memories in the human community. They enrich and enliven our memories of who we are and where we have been, including what may lie ahead of us. Contained, therefore, in the spatial dimensions, the artist employs snippets that address our collective conscience. The space the artist manipulates remains purpose-driven. Hence metaphors remain tokens of remembrance in all cultures that create art and value its function in society.

"Memory appertains to the storage of experience while in commerce with sensible reality. Human progress closely relates to the experience history provides. Engaging the works of art in this exhibition narrates diverse dimensions of the artists and what they cherish about phenomena or sensible reality. We encounter different titles as well as the visual interpretations imposed on them by the artists. Such diversities engender lively sentiments on the fecund mind. The work of art, as a metaphor, encodes meaning. Metaphors privilege diverse meanings. It usually comes to experience that the individual confronts metaphor, extracting meaning relative to their accommodating capacities. In this way, humanity remains unified enriching meaning in the work of art. In the same token, the creative artist presents to humanity a peculiar understanding of sensible or practical experience they derive while in commerce with reality.

"The above complexity accounts for the intriguing offer this exhibition offers. Relive its offer to come to terms with interpretations of experience in metaphors."

 Friday Oghobeluo Omuedi, Charles Omuaru, Mor Faye Murf, Amadou Sagna, Assane Dione, Amadou Makhtar Mbaye Tita, Mame Gallo Bopp, Ina Thiam, Abdoul Sow, Zulu Mbaye, Massaër Seck, Thurea Al-Rahbi Håkonsson, Jesper Boysen,  Kinga-Noémi Ác,  Richárd Horváth and Eszter Júlia Kuzma also exhibited at

Others included Laila Benhalima, Amy Sow, Monique van Kerkhof, Bo Oudendijk, Marie Gayatri, Mamat Sallah, Thabo Thindi, Alcibeades C. Mendonça, Klara Debeljak, Miriam Sékou Coulibaly and Ngozi Agujiobi-Odoh.

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