Olu Amoda: Index Season ii
from March 28 to June 25, 2017, Art Twenty One, Lagos will present Index Season ii, a solo exhibition of renowned mixed media artist Olu Amoda. As the third solo exhibition of Olu Amoda at Art Twenty One, Index Season ii presents the artist’s newest body of work created over the past two years.
As one of Nigeria’s most celebrated visual artists, Olu Amoda’s sculptures combine discarded metal fragments to form hybrid figurative and abstract installations. His works often incorporate rusty nails, metal plates, bolts, pipes and rods, that are welded together to create figures, animals, flora and ambiguous forms. Amoda uses these materials to explore socio-political issues relating to Nigerian culture today, including gender, privacy, consumerism and economic distribution.
In Index Season ii, Olu Amoda uses leaves as a metaphor to address the notion of a nation undergoing political impasse. Creating metal sculptures that evoke the changing colours of the four seasons, Amoda compares the individual leaves to human relationships, bunched together in social interconnectedness. As an isolated object, the leaves are meticulously sculpted to show their unique shapes and characteristics. As a collection, they form an abstract, geometric mass that binds the sculpture as a cohesive whole. Just as the tree’s foliage changes colour in different seasons, the collective nation goes through different stages and journeys. Amoda attempts to critically draw the audience’s attention to the global crisis of political gridlock plaguing the world today, suggesting that we must consider humanity as an ever-evolving process that shares affinity with one another.
In other works in the exhibition, Amoda continues his investigation into the organic processes of our natural world. Amoda depicts insects cross-pollinating with vegetation, as well as circular forms sculpted from repurposed welded nails, cubes and scroll motifs. Using the circular shape as a reoccurring visual element, Amoda makes references to the globe or the human eye. Like the isolated leaves that form a unit, so too do his circular sculptures attest to a cyclical pattern of human life. The nails reveal a narrative of shared responsibility, with each part integral in keeping the whole as one.
Amoda also focuses on the female form, with silhouettes, profiles and close-up perspectives of women. Amoda fixes his gaze at the women’s bodies, hairstyles and dress, capturing the figures in contemplation and in deep thought. In his large scale sculpture, Amoda’s interest manifests in the figure of Marion Jones, a world champion athlete who was recently involved in a steroid scandal. While Amoda’s works explore universal aspects of humanity, they are also rooted in news headlines and current events. Set amidst these diverse works is a makeshift vehicle, created from a repurposed canoe and castor, an apt foreshadowing of our turbulent political times.
Olu Amoda (Nigeria, b. 1959) graduated in sculpture from Auchi Polytechnic, Nigeria, and received a Master’s Degree of Fine Arts from Georgia Southern University, USA. Amoda has participated in exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK), the Museum of Art and Design (New York), Skoto Gallery (New York), Georgia Southern University (USA), Didi Museum (Nigeria), WIPO Headquarters (Switzerland), and Art Twenty One (Nigeria), among others. He has completed residencies at Villa Arson (France), The Bag Factory (South Africa), Appalachian State University (North Carolina), and the New York Design Museum. His work is included in many prestigious art collections including the Newark Museum, Fondation Blachère and the Sindika Dokolo Foundation. Amoda has taught Sculpture and Drawing at the School of Art, Design and Printing at Yaba College of Technology in Lagos since 1987. Amoda lives and works in Lagos.
Art Twenty One (Art21Lagos) is a 600 sqm space and platform dedicated to contemporary art in Lagos, Nigeria. Located at the Eko Hotels & Suites in Victoria Island, Art Twenty One is intended to contribute to and solidify the growing art scene in Lagos, as well as position the city as a major force in the international art world. An unprecedented and unique set up in Lagos, the space is designed to make art accessible to a large and growing audience who will be able to engage with a rich and diverse range of contemporary art, cultural practice, and educational art programs.
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