Péju Alatise: Memoirs of the forgotten
Sulger-Buel Gallery, London presents Memoirs of the forgotten, a solo exhibition by leading contemporary Nigerian artist Péju Alatise running from September 12 to October 31, 2019.
“There is no encounter without ‘cultural contamination’. Culture is a living organism, in continuous mutation, which reinvents itself by passing through the phases of decline, loss of direction and renewal, as determined by its external contacts…No society of sound mind would claim the absolute purity of its culture.” – N’Gone Fall – Things Fall apart.
“There is a conflict within me each time I have to repress nostalgia of my childhood visits to my hometown in Ijebu-Ode, to maintain a present state of mind. I remember the words of N’Gone and console myself that even the past is borrowed. The real conflict arises from the fear that I may lose a part of me forever. These parts of me are my roots. There is the general anxiety many traditional communities in Yoruba Land (where I come from) express from the old to the deaf ears of the young. This anxiety is for the eventual death of all their existence. I do not want to be deaf to them. I want to take my grandmother’s cultural values and evolve with them. But, is nostalgia stronger than migration? Than imperialism? Than change?”
As an interdisciplinary artist, architect and author of two novels, Peju Alatise has been practising as an independent studio artist in Nigeria since 1998. She has been consistent with her experimentation with materials and techniques as a medium to analyse various socio-political issues. Alatise has also been an influential voice on the Child Not Bride campaign in Nigeria, with her work regularly feeding into this discourse. She is also the founder of the ANAI Foundation – a non-profit foundation dedicated to the development of visual arts in Nigeria, offering sponsored training programs for artists.
Alatise is a fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and the 2017 winner of the FNB Art Prize in Johannesburg. Her work was exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale as well as in numerous exhibitions in New York, Florence, Morocco and London.
August 21, 2019