Sakhile&Me presents OSI AUDU: Wetin Be Dis? as a solo exhibition of Osi Audu’s signature abstract acrylic paintings and paper and graphite drawings stretched on canvas. Audu’s work explores the tangible and intangible nature of “the self” and self-consciousness. The exhibition will run from 19 September to 26 October, 2019 with a forthcoming catalogue including an essay by Professor Jack Mack FBA, an interview with the artist and a selection of works in the exhibition.
Wetin Be Dis? is Nigerian Pidgin English for “What is this?” and in this exhibition Audu develops a series of geometric form abstract paintings and drawings that interrogate the oft-times multifaceted nature of “the self”. He references both philosophy and neurology to tug at our understandings and perceptions of “self-identity”. The paintings are in bright coloured shapes, many with an opening breaking the center of the solid forms alongside black, white and grey drawings depicting similar solid geometric shapes as well as more experimental shapes with curvature and small repeating forms that create impressions of a starry night sky.
Audu’s practice over the last three decades has steadily and consistently pushed the boundaries of abstract art juxtaposing primary and complimentary colours and creating monochromatic grey, white and black drawings. Following the Yoruba concept of Ori Inu (“the inner head”), Audu’s works – many of them displayed as “self-portraits” – draw attention to the artist’s focus on the head as a signifier of consciousness and as an object of self-knowing. He continues to interrogate the duality of form/void and the tangible/intangible as they relate to the self and self-consciousness.
Osi Audu received his MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Georgia in Athens (USA) in 1984 and a postgraduate-certificate in education from the University of Kent in Canterbury (UK) in 1994. Audu’s work has shown in several prestigious institutions such as Iwalewa-Haus, Bayreuth (1995), the British Museum, London (2003), the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C. (2006), and the Museo Di Palazzo Grimani during the Venice Biennale (2015). He lives and works in New York.