Until October 14, 2023, KOOP Projects art gallery, Brighton hosts “Sapele Neon Boy“, a communicative solo exhibition by Joshua Uvieghara. Through this selection of strikingly disparate visual works, the artist rediscovers his artistic career while paying homage to his dual heritage.
A dual identity, a rediscovery of his artistic career, the “Sapele Neon Boy” exhibition features a selection of works that trace the life of artist Joshua Uvieghara with immersive color nuances. His unique artistic practice dynamically addresses notions of truth, memory and boundaries, drawing on his experience as a British artist of mixed Dutch and Nigerian descent, as well as his formative years in Greater London. Her artistic portfolio brings together the media that have served as the basis for her various works of art, including prints, paper, wood and canvas. Each piece reveals, through composite layers, Joshua Uvieghara’s inspirations, which draw their essence from his time living in the bustling city of Sapele, Nigeria, as well as from the aesthetics of neon, an artistic technique rooted in his European heritage and past experiences.
With this in mind, Joshua Uvieghara explains: “My journey with neon began as an exchange student in upstate New York in the late ’90s. I had the opportunity to take a course in neon sculpture. As a painter, neon has a dynamic substance, and I wanted to translate that into pigment. I wanted to turn these tubes upside down to expose the phosphor chemicals inside and capture the velvety, shimmering coruscations of the night sky that serve as the backdrop for the cinematic ideas that interest me. This reversal, of hiding some things to reveal others in a kaleidoscope of light, shadow and body, is a growing preoccupation.“
Joshua Uvieghara explores the limits of painting, approaching it from a visionary perspective that analyzes its materiality and the interference of color in its representation. In his creative process, the artist seeks to extract structures from personal anecdotes and childhood memories, allowing subjects to emerge organically on canvas. Captivated by the visual power of paint, Joshua Uvieghara uses it to create profound, communicative works that convey perceptions of time and duration akin to cinematic concepts.
Organized by curator, art historian, researcher and art consultant Naomi Edobor, “Sapele Neon Boy” exceeds the expectations of both curator and artist, appearing to the public as an entity more essential than the sum of its parts. Exploring the themes of dual heritage and the discovery of diverse spaces, this artistic presentation serves as a point of departure, but also as a benchmark for examining the transitional complexities, emotional resonances that its interpretation suggests and, in between, expresses the way in which heritage converges with a person’s sense of identity.