This beautiful and fascinating exhibition of ‘Nigerian Contemporary Art is dedicated to all those who survived the cyclone IDIA and is organized by Joseph Barbara and Bruno Eke, of ICAF Malta 2019 in collaboration with the United Nations in Cavalieri Art Hotel in Renoir Gallery. The inauguration reserved for invited guests is planned for 31st May 2019 and the event will open to the public from the 1st to 30th June 2019.
This exhibition in an explosion of warm colours of African vernacular art reveals a certain dynamic strength by an emotive race influenced by Western artistic concepts, especially European. Nothing strange as such influence has percolated through the centuries through military colonization, economic, financial and social contacts and such cross-fertilization of ideas have moulded the soul and spirit of the African people.
This exhibition will surely impress and leave a great impact on both the local Maltese population and the foreigners visting the Island as tourists as such expression has rarely if ever been seen exhibited on our shores. The cross-cultural fertilization of concepts is explicit but the tribal element is also quite pronounced.
‘Bonding’ by Ella Onyebe is virtually poster art. The work impresses with the tsalent in graphic art as the linear drawing is extremely powerful and sibelline. Really the expression is treated as hard edge and colour fills shapes without mixing and respects contour. Surely the main influence is textile and calico printing specially that vernacular with vivid tribal strong colours. The subject is vital as the artist treats female liberation and equality, the need of unity and freedom of women.
‘Bona Art’ by Bona Ezeudo is primarily a pure brand of Abstract Expressionist art influenced by European modern masters Nicolas de Stael, Pierre Soulage and the American Jackson Pollock with his concept of action painting or painting on impulse, what we call instictive, a kind of spontaneous rendering with splasing of colour on a surface allowing for a calculated accident of stippling, dripping and running paint.
‘Jubilation’ by Madu Chimezje is a figurative almost photographic rendering of a tribal African dance that suggests trance or hypnotic movement. The dynamic suggested movement of repeated rhythmic undulation of pull-push, attraction and repulsion of forms synchronized to music surely invites the viewer to participate, to get involved and enjoy oneself dancing to the beat.
Oresegun Olumide presents a kind of hyper-realistic art, a phrase that simply means neo-realistic, naturalist, purely figurative and almost photographic. The technical talent revealed points to a great bravura and virtuosity that one cannot but admire, especially the face covered in sweat, dripping droplets of water so life-like that one gasps with incredulity.
‘Serenity’ by Oswald Anayo Uruaka is also a realist expression that in Italian is called verismo, figurative work of great technical virtuosistic bravura. The girl who seems serene and tranquil emanate an acute sense of self-confidence, a mental and emotive sense, a feeling of ‘amor propio’ but what makes one wonder is the texture of her clothes woven with a geometric design that leaves one dumbfounded.
Iniobong Charles presents a geometric abstract design tribal and primitive of great dynamic geometric strength, a stylized expression. It is African in concept with an influence of a Europea Geometric Abstract concept.
‘Self-Absorption’ by Kolapo Olorunyemi is a Surreal and Metaphysical work whose bitter social message condemns those egoistic and self-conscious individuals whose narcissism does not allow them to care or have compassion for others The pills are an implicit image or symbol in themselves and suggest thought and reflection.
The sculpture by Lyke Okenyi is an assemblage of small dolls like totems or talisman. The meaning is symbolic and probably their function is ritualistic and ceremonial and perhaps implies black magic. The modules resemble skeletons, bones or objects carved in wood or ivory that rattle in the breeze. Thre work resembles an installation (quite local and tribal) and the effect lies in the repetition of the module, in the repetitve rhythm.
This exhibition is expected to attract visitors both local and foreign for its rarity and uniqueness.
E. V. Borg