As many young adults continue to develop a keen interest in the arts, there is increasing need to meet this yearning with sustainable platforms of growth. A photo exhibition organised two Saturdays ago at Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island, Lagos, titled Revolving Art Incubator, is a case in point. The exhibition featured past and present works of Matiu Idang, Bernard Kalu, Aderemi Adegbite and archival texts and visuals by Asiri magazine.
The commonality among all the artists, with the exception of Matiu Idang’s works, is the passion to tell the African story from an indigenous point of view.
“It is good that our stories are being told by ‘us,’” Bernard Kalu said. “Before now, we had foreigners say whatever they perceived about us and a large percent of what they say is not true.”
Adegbite, who had old family pictures taken between 1972 and 1980 on display, said, “Through these images, I’m catching up on my family history and relearning photographic practices and its history in Nigerian context”.
Asiri magazine, which was recently listed among the few online brands to successfully emerge out of Africa by Africa Arise International 2014, said it strives to inform, preserve and educate people about the powerful cultural, historical, and artistic heritage of Nigeria.
With the theme “Exploring the African Voice in Visual Representation”, the artists successfully endeavoured to tell the African story, struggles, and successes through their works.
Idang, on the other hand, said his work series is a conceptual piece of a young Nigerian male who had to make sacrifices for commerce, family and creative pursuits. He noted that he decided to use his inner chamber as a place to experiment and explore other aspects of his being. He uses his works to show a man’s world apart from all the responsibilities society has imposed on him.
He noted: “Sometimes, we are not allowed to fully express ourselves because of the roles we have decided to play in society and that is not a good or bad thing. It is just who we are as people.”
One of his photographs titled: ‘To have and to hold’ shows different styles of freedom a man can experience in his personal space – free from all societal obligations. He added that he would like for everyone to conceptualise themselves as the characters being portrayed in his works and recognise all the missed opportunities and strive for a revolution.