Emeka Udemba: Tools of Conflicts
by Ladun Ogidan
On March 21, Arthouse-The Space presented Tools of Conflicts, a solo exhibition by contemporary Nigerian artist Emeka Udemba, of recent works in drawing, photography, painting, installation and video. The exhibition runs till April 11 at the Renault Showroom, Victoria Island and outlines Udema’s portrayal of conflict over the years.
Here, the artist explores media representation of violence, suffering and trauma while tackling issues pertaining to cultural diversity and memory within a global context. In works such as I Am Home, I Promised to be Brave and Empowered, Udemba addresses the reality of violence against women and children, often as casualties of conflicts resulting in displacement and inequality.
According to the artist, “The ongoing animosities in some parts of Nigeria today and in other parts of the world are sharp reminders that violence and conflicts are depressing features of man. In a recent United Nations report, for the first time since the end of the World War II, about 50 million people across the globe have been forced to relocate due to armed conflicts. Notwithstanding, as long as these tragedies do not affect us directly, we have a remarkable ability to turn a blind eye. What we see are only numerical casualty figures routinely churned out by the media. After a time, these figures start to lose their meaning. They become something else: mere statistics. The question is: Can art be appropriated as a form of a counter-pole to conflicts by shifting images from one context to another?”
Emeka Udemba (Nigeria, b.1968) is a mixed media artist, who lives and works between Lagos, Nigeria and Freiburg, Germany. Udemba has won numerous grants, prizes, and residencies in Africa and Europe. Notable exhibitions and awards include recent projects at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France, a project grant with the Prince Claus Fund in the Netherlands, and a project grant of the Siftungskunstfonds in Germany.
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