Discover an immersive pictorial panorama of unique paintings, mixed media and sculptural works through the exhibition “Journeys“. A warm artistic presentation by ten talented contemporary artists on view until September 10, 2023 at SMO Contemporary Art.
Organized by The Wheatbaker, this exhibition features 33 works by ten emerging mid-career artists from Nigeria and Zimbabwe: Ademola Ojo, Aluu Prosper, Collins Abinoro, Ejiro Fenegal, Iniobong Usoro, Praise Sanni-Adeniyi, Prudence Chimutuwah, Robert Oniha, Sanjo Lawal and Tumininu Gbebire. Through their creations, these artists address the many questions that accompany us throughout our daily lives, with a view to giving them meaning. Inspired by the growth of global migration and the brain drain in Africa, these artists, aged between 23 and 39, present a transgenerational analysis of delicate themes including the spiritual and physical search for home, cultural identity, rootedness, humanity’s aspiration for a secure and abundant life and a place of fulfillment.
Majid Biggar, the exhibition’s curator and director of the SMO Contemporary Art gallery, supports this interpretation, explaining: “The idea for ‘Journeys’ was inspired by the growing Japanese brain drain we are experiencing in Nigeria, and by the fact that the whole world is facing increasing migratory pressure due to economic, environmental and political challenges“.
The plurality of mediums and works presented in the exhibition serves as a mirror reflecting our own personal excursions, inviting viewers to introspect on the routes travelled. In an age of growing multi-kulti hybrid ethnicities, the experimental works of Ademola Ojo, Aluu Prosper and Robert Oniha immerse the public in the heart of our cultural identity, beliefs and traditions within a generalized framework.
Iniobong Usoro, Sanjo Lawal and Tuminunu Gbebire, in their artistic practice, address socio-political and cultural cruciaesl issues that emerge from global migratory patterns due to many factors such as climate change and many others. Through a critical approach to identity, spirituality and governance, Collins Abinoro and Ejiro Fenegal create imposing sculptures from newspaper clippings, recycled cutlery, stone and marble dust.
Prudence Chimutuwah presents a striking collage of personal letters, magazine extracts and out-of-order banknotes, in which she explores the theme of women’s empowerment in so-called patriarchal spaces. As for Praise Sanni-Adeniyi, he conceives moving surrealist portraits that depict with piercing power the emotional and psychic struggles we face in the course of our metaphysical and physical explorations.
In their respective innovative artistic practices, the work of the artists participating in this exhibition complements and overlaps each other with candor. Through a varied pictorial backdrop brimming with narratives exhibited at SMO Contemporary Art, the “Journeys” exhibition subtly addresses the social issues facing societies, and invites viewers to become more aware of the global stakes.