Marcellina Akpojotor: Joy of more Worlds

Rele, London, United Kingdom
13 Apr 2024 - 08 Jun 2024

Marcellina Akpojotor, Diatacheko's Parlour, 2023-2024, Fabric and acrylic on canvas, 77 x 60 in, 195.6 x 152.4 cm. Photo: Mark Blower.

Marcellina Akpojotor, Diatacheko's Parlour, 2023-2024, Fabric and acrylic on canvas, 77 x 60 in, 195.6 x 152.4 cm. Photo: Mark Blower.

Rele, London announces Nigerian artist, Marcellina Akpojotor’s first solo exhibition in the UK, running from 13 April – 8 June 2024. The series is a continuation of her survey into generational legacy and the evolving nature of archives. Building upon investigations of her maternal bloodline, this new body of work titled, Joy of more Worlds traces a timeline of family life that connects and captures the spirit of the contemporary African women, exploring female empowerment and the role of motherhood in society. The large-scale paintings are densely collaged with the Ankara fabric to delicately display intimate celebrations of memories.

The new works delve into the domestic sphere, encapsulating snapshots of daily life within the artist’s home, ranging from playful moments to instances of tender intimacy. Drawing on photographic source material, her paintings blur the boundary between objective documentary and personal experience. Each composition serves as a poignant testament to the beauty found within the mundane, offering viewers a glimpse into private spaces and narratives of childhood and community.

Akpojotor meticulously transforms the Ankara fabric into an abstract language on canvas, bridging the past and the contemporary. The material, used for daily wear in Nigerian society, serves as a cultural signifier and a conduit for memory. Choosing to use offcuts of Ankara, a powerful marker of African identity, speaks to Akpojotor’s belief in the medium of the cloth for telling private family histories. The paintings coupled with the textile collage not only create a strong visual impact against the paint but more importantly, function as a key element in Akpojotor’s strategy to challenge visual language and pay tribute to the legacies of influential people in her life.

Akpojotor explains: In my artistic process, there’s no staged setup; instead, I seize moments of joy and weave textiles, acrylics, and other materials onto the canvas. I create collages that reflect layers of meaning and emotion woven into their fabric. I want my audience to delve deeper into the essence of human experience.
My first solo exhibition in London represents a significant milestone in my artistic journey. It’s not just about showcasing my work, but also about sharing my story, my culture, and my vision as an artist.