Victor Ehikhamenor: Paper Works, Works on Paper
by Ladun Ogidan
Paper Works: Works on Paper, a solo exhibition by leading contemporary artist Victor Ehikhamenor opened on March 19. The exhibition will run till May 14, 2015 and is organized by Constant Capital in collaboration with The Life House.
Ehikhamenor’s art is characterized by abstract and symbolic elements, drawing from the duality of African traditional religion and the interception of Western beliefs, memory and nostalgia. Like his previous series, Paper Works: Works on Paper, resonates from Ehikhamenor’s early childhood and influence as an artist, born out of the need to mimic the symbolic paintings and drawings on shrine walls in his community Udomi-Uwessan, in Edo State, Nigeria.
The exhibition is curated by Ugoma Adegoke who describes the exhibition as “A rare showcase of Ehikhamenor’s works on a homogenous surface—well, as homogenous as the various papers he explores can be—Indian handmade paper; origami-inspired fabric paper from Japan; glossy magazine paper; textured sugar paper; basic cardboard; sketchpad sheets; and even shredded paper discarded as rubbish.”
Ehikhamenor himself explains his goal here, which is to explore and deconstruct paper in addressing social-political and cultural issues. Here, the artist’s deliberate use of paper, as well as some of the titles of his works is symbolic of the often-unconscious dependable relationship we share with paper especially in an office environment. Critic, Emmanuel Iduma, whose observations reveal paper to be bound by impermanence and at the same time permanence, further, asserts this fact. As seen in works like Typist, Secretary, and Special Personal Assistant, he observes, “The material and the subjects are held in dialogue. The material, in Ehikhamenor’s hands mirror the identities of women whose clerical training often place them in second place to a privileged male boss, resulting in an entire career at the service of bureaus, filling hours as incalculable as an endless bundle of shredded paper trashed by a government office.”
Victor Ehikhamenor’s works have been exhibited extensively in Nigeria and the United States. His recent solo exhibition, Chronicles of the Enchanted World was held at the Gallery of African Art, London (2014). He maintains a studio in Lagos, Nigeria and Maryland in United States.
Victor Ehikhamenor is a visual artist, teacher, filmmaker, writer and photographer. He was born in Udomi-Uwessan, Edo State. He holds a BA in English and Literature from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma (1991), an MSc in Technology Management (2004) and a MFA from University of Maryland, College Park, United States (2008).
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