Oliver Okolo: I Forgot to Tell You, Now Listen

Oliver Okolo: I Forgot to Tell You, Now Listen-Omenka Online

Running from 28 October to 27 November 2021, I Forgot to Tell You, Now Listen, by Oliver Okolo is strongly personal and of an intimate nature. In many ways, this series may be construed as revisionist, serving as a vehicle to articulate his notion of ethnicity and to include previously unknown but significant aspects of the artist’s life and more importantly, his use of memorialisation as a tool for socio-cultural and political mediation. The artist summarises his aims for the exhibition as:

A need to reveal important details of my existence. I forgot to tell you that my Igbo heritage is interwoven with my contemporary way of life and consequently impacts on my thinking and creative process. Growing up, in Enu Avomini, Anambra,  I questioned some of the cultural and socio-political norms and beliefs of ndi Igbo, accepting only a few. These personal opinions have moulded me into who I am today. I also forgot to share with you my perspective on the role tradition has played in shaping our mentality as Black people today and how culture has defined us as good or bad by improving or diminishing morality and humanity.

Oliver Okolo has emerged as one of the most exciting artists working out of Nigeria today and is a central figure in a new vanguard whose portrayal of Black people in confident and assertive gaze, challenges and dismantles negative racial constructs and knowledge systems. The 20 mixed media works presented in I Forgot to Tell You, Now Listen—the title of Okolo’s first solo exhibition—holding at Gallery 1957 in Accra, lend voice to this assertion. Individually powerful, they collectively form the thrust of the artist’s “psychological introspection”, underscoring his present exploration of identity, ethnicity, status and the human condition. Significantly, they also build upon his earlier body of work ‘Portraits of the Life Elizabeth Freeman’, featured as part of a recent large-themed group exhibition with 15 other artists at the same gallery, to mark another milestone in its contributions to contemporary art developments on the continent.

This exhibition opens with an artist talk and reception at 6pm on 28th of October, 2021 in Gallery I, at Gallery 1957 Accra, Ghana.


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