Orí méta odún méta ibìkan – Group Show

CCA - Centre for Contemporary Art , Lagos, Nigeria
19 Jun 2016 - 24 Jul 2016

Orí méta odún méta ibìkan – Group Show

Taiye Idahor, Installation view at CCA Lagos

“Orí méta odún méta ibìkan” features the process of works in progress by three Nigerian artists – Kelani Abass, Taiye Idahor and Abraham Oghobase – who work across three different media and undertook residencies over a three year period (2013-2015) in the same place at the Salzburg Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Austria.

“Orí méta odún méta ibìkan” is an opportunity to present within a gallery space the continuing process of the artists’ developing their practice since the residency. It also offers the public a discursive platform to engage the mutability of studio practice, the impact of international residencies on the local art sector as well as the benefits and at times the disadvantages of residencies.

Taiye Idahor, the first participant in 2013 chose the course “SIMSALABOOM! Before you learn to fly, learn how to fall.” This was appropriate for the sculptor who was using mixed media and in taking it further by trying other media. The course’s focus on collage provided the perfect opportunity for a new direction. As she observed and interacted with her colleaugues whilst they worked, their process – most of them new to her – responded to her interest not only in layering, cutting, pasting, scratching, but also to the tactile, to textures and to the three dimensionality with which she was so familiar in her sculptural work. Her presentation here consists of a self portrait in the Salzburg studio made up of several pieces to make a mosaic on which she is cutting, layering, pasting bits and pieces that come from all three artists’ time and experience of the residency creating one work in which three experiences coalesce.

For Kelani Abass, this opportunity to travel to Europe for the first time, to engage another country and culture was a strong motivation as was his chosen course “Painting the Cliché”. Known locally as a painter’s painter, he was fascinated with the stretching painting possibilities. His objective was not to produce new work but to explore new ways of seeing, of learning and painting. Kelani took two things with him to Salzburg; a stamping machine and a local Ankara cloth. He found the strong art historical context through the reading and analysing texts about painting stimulating coupled with the visits to the museums. The biggest impression on him was the omnipresence of Mozart through monuments, street names, on chocolate bars, public square, and everything possible. Responding to this obsessive focus on Mozart especially as his birthday approached led him to thinking about time (a thematic focus that is to be found in Abass’ work over the years) and about numbers. This resulted in him putting his stamp at 0 and stamping 1,739 (year of Mozart’s birth) times to create a portrait of the iconic Mozart. On the same paper he added a collage of other material that feature the portrait of Mozart. This was the first work of ‘stamping’ he created.

Photographer Abraham Oghobase took the course, “The possible impossibilities of prepresentation or Reading/Making Pictures:The production of meaning”. Oghobase sought to explore, experiment and stretch the narrative potential of the image and in doing so to create new meanings through the intersection of painting and printing. By challenging the attributes of a photograph, the veracity of the image, and its truthmaking properties he pushes the conceptual limits of his practice. His process developed in collaboration with Kelani Abass takes his images of monuments as well as details of ordinary objects in his room in Salzburg from a digital photo to film to plate and to print exploring the process of lithopress as it rates to photography. As the printer separates the colours – cyan, black, magenta, yellow – Oghobase asks him to layer the plate with a bit of yellow or to add blue to the cyan and a grey sky becomes a painterly purple image effacing the ‘reality’ of the image. Since returning his search has been to imbue the image and the photographic and the printing process with new meaning and new life that are at once poetic, subtle yet powerful.

“Orí méta odún méta ibìkan” consider the residency and this exhibition as an extension of the artist’s studio, a space of experimentation, of errors and counter errors, as moments of freedom and possibilities. This presentation by Kelani Abass, Taiye Idahor and Abraham Ogbohase attempts to engage and challenge the supremacy of the finished work by laying out the process, the turns and returns as they search for new directions and meaning.

This collaboration with Salzburg summer academy of Fine Arts continues, extended to mainly former participants of the CCA, Lagos international art school programme Asiko. In 2016 the opportunity is extended to Asiko 2015 Maputo alumna Zambian artist Mulenga J. Mulenga.

Bisi Silva – Curator




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