Exhibition

We will now go to Kpaaza – Group Show

Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth, Germany
28 Apr 2022 - 15 Oct 2022

Foto_Ojeikere 2019. copyright: The Professor Uche Okeke Legacy Limite

Foto_Ojeikere 2019. copyright: The Professor Uche Okeke Legacy Limite

Perhaps, I should get out of myself, get beyond the frontier of my very being, to study man now – man confused and confident.

…to free myself from all that oppress me. I will go to Kpaaza.

 MUNICH, 1970 – 2022,  Uche Okeke

 

Iwalewahaus in collaboration with Asele Institute and The Professor Uche Okeke Legacy Limited presents “We will now go to Kpaaza”, a contemporary visual art exhibition at Iwalewahaus, Wölfelstraße 2, 95444 Bayreuth, Germany from 28 May – 15 October 2022, jointly curated by Nantume Violet (Uganda) and Ijeoma Loren Uche-Okeke (Nigeria/South Africa).

Five years after the passing of Uche Okeke, master modernist artist, visionary, scholar and change agent, the relevance of his vision and legacy continue to be evident in the progress and gains made by contemporary and modern African art and artists on the global stage. This exhibition contributes to the global discuss but most importantly it highlights the importance of Uche Okeke’s contribution as a visual artist, writer, folklorist, educator, and cultural activist.

The exhibition presents a body of Okeke’s work predominantly focusing on works on paper, including drawings and paintings that have not been exposed to public viewing for many years. The works featured in the exhibition are selected from Uche Okeke’s private collection (now collectively known as the Asele Institute Art Collection) and include works by Nigerian modernist masters such as Demas Nwoko, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Okechukwu Odita, Oseloka Osadebe, as well as students taught by Okeke such as Ego Uche-Okeke, Uzo Ndubisi. Also featured are Ghanaian artist; Emmanuel Tetteh who he met during his trips to Ghana in the 70s. The exhibition will showcases artworks from the Iwalewahaus collection by Obiora Udechukwu and a few other artists from the Nsukka School. On view are various items and materials from the Asele Institute archives including exhibition posters, brochures, photographs and particular items from Okeke’s trips to Germany between 1962 and 1963 are included. A key element of the exhibition are a three installations using Uche Okeke’s drawings and sculptures, by contemporary Nigerian artist Jeremiah Ikongio that include 3D modelling in Augmented Reality (AR), animation and sound with AR, and sound installation with Extended Reality (XR).

Kpaaza, as severally used by artist Uche Okeke is a metaphor for spiritual, intellectual and creative journeys: in search of self. Kpaaza frequently resurfaces in the artist’s writing when referencing journeys made to his ancestral home, foreign lands but also places of questioning and acquiring knowledge. The statement symbolises critical internal and external journeys that reflected on traditional ways of creating and making art in modern times.

The exhibition takes the line as a guiding curatorial principle. It draws from Uli’s dynamism; the line is perceived as a dot that goes for a walk, the ecology of the communal Uli painting, in which the lines meander, slipping in and out. We will now go to Kpaaza acknowledges mobility as an important resource – of bodies, of ideas, information and of influence – the exhibition highlights key conjunctions in Uche Okeke’s artistic practice that was catalysed by the travels made over the durations of his professional career. The “German experience”, as highlighted in his book “Art in Development – A Nigerian Perspective”, became crucial in structuring the already established Asele Institute. Okeke spent two years in the then West Germany, training in the art of stained glass and mosaic under Karl Mayer at the Mayer’sche Hofkunstanstalt in Munich. He made contacts and built personal and professional relationships that allowed for exchanges with numerous cultural institutions as well as other sectors.

 

For more information on the exhibition and related programming please email Katharina Fink – frl.Fink@uni-bayreuth.de or Lena Naumann – lena.naumann@uni-bayreuth.de.

 

 


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