O’DA Art Gallery is pleased to present Relational Lines: The Disjunction of Sameness; a group exhibition showcasing the works of three contemporary African artists, Anthea Epelle, Obinna Makata & Anthony Nsofor.
With a captivating body of work, all three artists in their individually distinct language depict their viewpoint of life. This showing covers commentary on political and social themes, to expressions of womanhood, strength and the simplicities of life. Each artist’s use of colours and texture is emboldened by their well-defined choice of form and expressive lines. Obinna Makata’s collages create a confrontational visual metaphor for a fractured cultural identity as bold strokes of acrylic and ink is folded and weaved into Ankara fabric. As Anthony Nsofor’s work creates a new visual language to rewrite African ideologies, Anthea Epelle portrays sensual depictions of female portrait to elevate the beauty of the African woman. This group exhibition seeks to challenge the perception of contemporary culture by addressing the true nature of our human identity and presenting it in a renewed visual representation.
In response to the deteriorating political and cultural value system in Nigeria, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, commented on the broken nature of society and its reality of perpetuating a “broken system”. This theme is prevalent in Obinna Makata’s latest series of spirited illustrations as he titles his collages, “broken pieces of African culture”; a response to the omnipresence of foreign influences that threaten traditional idioms. Possessing a captivating mythic quality where vivid strokes of acrylic and ink are intertwined with ankara fabric, Makata creates a visual metaphor for a fractured Nigerian cultural identity. The bold and distorted figures are a representation for human beings devoid of masks, cloaks and camouflage. As such, the figures become a representation of our true human nature that embodies real character and expression.
Anthea Epelle’s compositions are inspired by the simplicity and beauty of the human form. Working predominately with oil paints, there is a fundamental balance between figuration and abstraction. Her forms alternate between rigid textures and delicate areas of translucency creating a powerful sense of movement and alignment. Epelle’s portraits first form a strange sense of ephemerality and innocent of beauty, but on a deeper level, speak of the strength of womanhood. Her art portrays the confidence and resilience of woman.
Tony Nsofor’s art appears to be entirely abstract at a glance, and therein lies its beauty which forces you to pay attention and engage your curiosity. The viewer is greeted with abstract and figurative forms that are fluid and have a unique visual language. As an artist with a 20-year studio practice, Nsofor has dedicated his work to documenting experiences as a black African artist, journeying through various countries that are strongly biographical. Over the years, Nsofor has taken his practice from Lagos, (Nigeria), to Abidjan (Cote D’Ivoire) and USA. With these lengthy experiences, Nsofor’s work deals with themes of governance, migration, sexuality and the Nigerian condition, all which are communicated through the visual language of text, signs and symbols adopted from the Uli, Nsibidi and Adinkra traditions (Studied at Nsukka). In this body of work, Nsofor aims to rewrite African ideologies through a global lens by fusing rich colour and patterns to invoke new meanings and delineate cultural ideas.