Dear Nigeria, Dear Friends
From November 25 to December 7, 2017, the Literacy Integration and Formal Education (LIFE) Foundation in collaboration with Alliance Française will present Dear Nigeria, Dear Friends, an exhibition of recent works by leading contemporary Nigerian artists Fidelis Odogwu, George Edozie, Alex Nwokolo, Gerry Nnubia, Francis Uduh and Abraham Uyovbisere.
Featuring a diversity of Nigerian art, the exhibition will hold at the Omenka Gallery, Lagos, to fund LIFE Foundation’s literacy projects in Makoko, the economically disadvantaged community on the lagoon beside Yaba, Lagos. According to founder and president of the LIFE Foundation, Elvira Salleras, “In the last two years, with the invaluable support of sponsors and volunteers, we have executed various projects in that community, including rebuilding a primary school, facilitating 2 medical missions, organising seasonal parties, equipping a school library and distributing books, teaching aids and 1,000 pairs of sandals to school children.”
Speaking on Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and the reason for collaborating, Charles Courdent, director of Alliance Française Lagos remarks, “Music, dance, fashion, but also sculpture and painting are ubiquitous in Nigerian cultural universe… We sincerely thank LIFE for bringing this wonderful project alive: they do a fabulous work to give hope to children, by giving shining colours to a dark world!”
Odogwu’s broad oeuvre embraces naturalism and the abstract expressionism of classical African sculpture, known for its geometric and architectonic volumes. Odogwu’s success owes much to his ability to balance spatial and sculptural relationships; the beauty of the geometric elements and evocations of natural form, becoming versatile tools for exploring the formal and metaphorical associations connected with African lore and contemporary politics.
Edozie studied fine and applied arts at the University of Benin where he majored in painting (1996). He has held 5 solo exhibitions and participated in 109 group exhibitions in Nigeria and abroad. His last solo exhibition Shifting the Paradigm hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami Florida, was listed among the four best exhibitions at Art Basel Miami (2014). Edozie is well known for his mixed media, life-size contemporary sculptures and paintings on canvas, made from the application of oil on cloth and carved with a knife. His work is reminiscent of the Fauvists and Post-impressionist painters like Cézanne, Matisse, Gauguin and Van Gogh.
Nwokolo adopts an instinctive and methodological system of expression to examine mainly, the technique of creative colouring. His canvases are laced with textural qualities, the paint, applied boldly as a thick impasto, which, worked by deft strokes of the palette knife, accumulates weight as it builds, in repeated planes, into a thick carpet of light and shade. Often incorporating ordinary discarded materials, his recent works explore the urban Nigerian space, environmental sustainability and politics.
A largely experimental artist, Nnubia’s technique involves the skillful manipulation of his medium to a liquid viscous flow often assimilating accidental occurrences and temperature adjustments, depending on the effect sought. Here, the artist offers critical possibilities for painting, and explores the tensions between form and formlessness vital to the tenets of modernism. His recent canvases however, engage the beauty of nature and deep experiences like family and togetherness.
Uduh works broadly in two sytles; a calm academic realism and a more expressive one that draws from the geometric forms of traditional African art. Employing bronze, fibre glass and majorly wood, his deliberate exaggeration of the limbs and torsos of his figures to achieve rhythm and fluidity are vaguely reminiscent of the work of celebrated artist, Ben Enwonwu.
Uyovbisere is well known for his studies of the female form, and paintings of the durbar. Typical of his work, is the application of paint in rhythmic manner, clearly defining a highly individual expression. Abraham Uyovbisere’s works can be found in several significant collections in Nigeria and abroad. He is also a member of the Society of Nigerian Artists and is well exhibited in Nigeria, Europe and the United States.
Individually, the works are strong and offer a glimpse, as well as a deeper understanding of the artists’ techniques and working methods. Though offering a broad range of styles and media, the artists are united in their support for the economically disadvantaged Makoko community.
Literacy, Integration and Formal Education foundation was incorporated in 2006 with the main objective of promoting the welfare and best interests of orphans and vulnerable children, through formal education and social integration.
High-resolution images and more information on the artist are available on request.
May 14, 2021
May 12, 2021