Francois Beaurain, Nengi Omuku, Thierry Oussou, Jimmy Nwanne, Gloria Oyarzabal Lodge and Christian Newby are the latest artists in the residency art exhibition titled At Work. It holds from January 27 through February 10, 2018 at
Kia Showroom, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.
In its second edition, At Work is organised for Arthouse Foundation’s Residency artists to show their projects. The exhibition is supported by Kia Motors.For the 2018 exhibition, the artists had their projects done last year during the three-month residency at Athouse Foundation. In its curatorial statement, Arthouse describes the project as experimenting with new forms and ideas that were inspired by the artists’ experiences in Lagos. The artists question how the inhabitants of Lagos interact and move within the urban environment in the context of cultural identity “framed through complex social and political forces.”
In painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, collage, mixed media and textiles, the artists “adopt diverse practices including the exploration of the archive and the experimentation of tactile materials.” Joseph Gergel, curator at Arthouse Foundation said the artists raise issues such as “fragmented self, of the interactive community, and of our place within the global sphere.”
For example, Beaurain, who was said to have been collecting Nollywwod’s film posters, appropriates them in collages. “Focusing on the isolation and repetition of a single figure, Beaurain’s collages adopt a “cloning” process that echoes the way that these posters are displayed in streets and markets throughout Africa.”
Excerpts from Arthouse curatorial statement says: “Nengi Omuku explores the meeting points between abstraction and representation, where the fragmented body is depicted as coloured, multifaceted and amorphous. She points to the stages where the body breaks down and de-materializes in the representational sense, in a process of becoming. Born in Nigeria in 1987, Omuku lives and works in Port Harcourt.
“Enyeasi combines photography, drawing and sculpture to form a psychological study that abstracts the body and reduces the human form. Enyeasi’s project is influenced by diverse cultural influences, including Rotimi Fani Kayode, Jean Hans Arp, Henri Mattise and Rei Kawakubo, reinterpreting past artists’ practices and imagining their intersections. Born in Nigeria in 1994, Enyeasi lives and works in Lagos.
“Oussou oscillates between abstraction and representation, portraying characters and symbols that suggest implied narratives amidst a free-flowing style. Oussou’s project in Lagos explores his surroundings in a new urban environment, looking closely at the social and psychological intensity of the city. Born in Benin Republic in 1988, Oussou lives and works in Benin and Amsterdam.“Nwanne focuses on themes of boundaries and transcendence, making associations to identity, tribe, gender and social hierarchies.
Combining fabrics, local newspapers, magazines, cardboard, and charcoal, he focuses on symbols of movement and migration. Using a cut and paste technique, Nwanne alludes to overlapping influences that exist with the same social sphere. Born in Nigeria in 1989, Nwanne lives and works in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
“Oyarzabal Lodge explores the vernacular representation of African women in the archives of the National Museum, Lagos, among other sources. Oyarzabal points out that we cannot universalize discourses of feminism, looking at alternative models outside of the Western concept of the nuclear family. By reconsidering the historical context of the photographic archive, Oyarzabal opens overlooked factors that constitute our notions of gender and identity. Born in the United Kingdom in 1971, Oyarzabal lives and works in Madrid.
“Newby explores the tufted surface as a site of technical and aesthetic mutability—examining how we partition meaning throughout textile practices. Newby tests how a contingent and qualitative deviation in technique can fundamentally pivot the carpet or rug from a decorative, user-orientated commercial product to a critical and rhetorical representation, confronting persistent challenges in how we differentiate and codify technique and meaning within textiles. Born in the United States in 1979, Newby lives and works in London.”The Arthouse Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to encourage the creative development of contemporary art in Nigeria.