The Contemporaries II, supported by the Wheatbaker and Louis Guntrum Wines, which started this week in London will run till January 15, 2019 in Lagos. The Wheatbaker was proud to host the Contemporaries II in celebration of recent Nigerian Independence Day, showcasing 38 sculptures, paintings, and mixed media works by Kainebi Osahenye, Kenny Adewuyi and Kelani Abass, three avant garde contemporary artists.
The ongoing exhibition, The Contemporaries II, presents strong visual narratives and powerful figurative abstractions, which explore historic socio-political narratives, the dignity of labour, technology, and the environment vis-vis unbridled consumerism.
The Contemporaries II, from October 4-7, marked the nations’ 58th Independence Day in London, presenting three artists who had contributed significantly to the vibrancy of Nigeria’s contemporary art scene. Kainebi Osahenye combines spray paint with oil, pastel, and acrylic, experimenting with dynamic fluency and fluidity to explore figurative gestures which interrogate society’s insatiability vis-a-vis the earth’s limited natural resources.
Kelani Abass creates intricate multi-media works, in which small mechanical parts retrieved from his family’s printing press, are layered with photographs and archival materials as the artist explores personal stories against the background of social and political events frozen in time and memory. His ‘man and machine’ series on canvas explore the interchangeable co-dependency between man and technology.
Kenny Adewuyi’s emotive sculptures of elongated figures and exaggerated limbs are in recognition of humanity’s universal struggle for survival and sustained livelihoods. His iconic sculptures are cast in bronze using the lost wax technique dating as far back as the 9th century in eastern Nigeria, keeping alive an ancient artistic tradition.
“As we celebrate Nigerian Independence Day and the Wheatbaker’s seventh anniversary, this important exhibition reaffirms our commitment to celebrate the very best of African creativity,” said Mosun Ogunbanjo, Director of the Wheabaker.
“The second edition of the Contemporaries continues the impressive standard set by the first quarterly exhibition we hosted in 2011, providing a regular platform for celebrating our exceptional local and international talent.”
“We are delighted to showcase our artists on two important platforms
simultaneously, The Wheatbaker in Lagos, and at the 1.54 African Contemporary Art Fair in London,” said Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, the Wheatbaker’s art curator and founder of SMO Contemporary Art. “Art is an important avenue for addressing global issues, and we depend on our artists to be good global ambassadors for Africa.”
Kainebi Osahenye explained, “In my recent work, I have been engaged with the idea of melancholy. Pain is a part of life. Pain can drive one to a place of isolation. The African American preacher, TD Jakes, once said that ‘the fervency of prayer is borne out of pain’. As a people, we have had really bad times and even still treading on rough edges. The marks of pain are now deeply edged on the faces of people across our landscape.
“We continue to sit and wait for a change to come. Indeed, Nigeria has been in a reclining position for too long waiting for her light to shine. Blinded by her corrupt practices, she is unable to see and utilise the enormous treasures buried within her.
“In my work, the weight of darkness seems to overwhelm the sometimes anguished form layered beneath the somewhat grey, and bright surfaces. The surface can exude grief, but I also like to camouflage this somber mood with colors that radiate energy.
“The energy that I seek or display in my work, in a way, appears like a prayer. And prayer to my mind possesses the potential to deal with pain.”