LineGuage: Textual Imagery | Linear Allegories
8 December 2018– 5 April 2019
Venue: Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos
LineGuage explores the co-creation of imagery between African artists and writers, a relationship that has continued into contemporary art in Africa but is seldom discussed. The exhibition aims to capture a binocular perspective of this relationship and inspire a new conversation on the subject. The exhibition explores how artists not only co-create images with authors but engage with the visual intellection processes of illustration that emphasize directness of execution and the economy of form and visual language through linear rendering of subjects in such a way that less is said, and more is yet said. Processes like interpretation, condensation, simplification, distillation are highlighted. The exhibition brings the visual works in conversation with the books which they illustrate or which has inspired them.
Bruce Onobrakpeya, Uche Okeke and Ibrahim El-Salahi deftly condensed the ideas of several writers into prints and lyrical drawings. Bruce Onobrakpeya’s Portfolio of Art and Literature are illustrations or visual interpretations of poems, short stories and folk songs by various African authors mainly of Nigerian descent, as well as some of his writings and translations. El-Salahi’s paintings, drawings and book illustrations draw on a vivid imagination rooted in the traditions of his homeland which he fuses with inventive forms of calligraphy, abstraction and a profound knowledge of art history. In his work El-Salahi established a new artistic vocabulary – uniting Islamic, African and European elements in a unique, surreal style.
In another instance, Chinua Achebe’s books found familiar expressions in the works of Victor Ekpuk and Chijioke Onuora. For over a decade, Onuora has produced series of drawings inspired by the imagery created by Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. His constantly shifting practice has carried this into his current exploration of batik. For instance, his depiction of Igbo wooden drums – “Ikoro”, reference its role in Things fall Apart. Victor Ekpuk’s drawings easily find expressions in the title of Achebe’s books. Except the drawing commissioned for the cover of the compilation of Achebe’s works – “African Trilogy”, all art on the covers are from works that he had already created with titles different from Achebe’s books. These drawing are taken from works created at different times and in different circumstances. For instance, the cover for “No Longer at Ease”, is from a series of ink drawings on paper – “Lagos Suite” created in 2013 by the artists during a residency in Lagos. But perhaps, most remarkable is how the aesthetics of Victor Ekpuk’s work interestingly coincide and complement with Achebe’s themes.
LineGuage further explores the relationship between art and literature by inviting five artists – Amarachi Okafor, Odun Orimolade, Stacey Okparavero, Rahima Gambo and Jess Atieno, whose work engage with the idea of storytelling, to respond to Kintu, a novel by Ugandan author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. Kintu gives a snapshot of different periods of Uganda’s history through characters who are dynamic and engaging, with interesting personal stories of their own. The UK Guardian notes that the author, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi does for Ugandan literature what Chinua Achebe did for Nigerian writing. While Makumbi documents the Ugandan story, she also subverts Ugandans’ understanding of who they are as a people, questioning the popular conceptions of gender, religion and mental illness. These issues raised by Makumbi become a departure point for these five artists.
Curator: Iheanyi Onwuegbucha
Installation View, LineGuage: Linear Imagery | Textual Allegories
Ngozi Omeje: Connecting Deep
August 2018– December 2018
Venue: Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos
As the 10th year anniversary celebration programme continues, the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos is pleased to present an ambitious new installation work by acclaimed Nigerian artist Ngozi Omeje. This unique presentation entitled Connecting Deep, – her largest to date and her first solo exhibition, explores the elephant – a symbol of strength as well as gentleness – as a metaphor to articulate personal experiences specifically that of a departed yet key family member – her father.
Ceramic artist Ngozi Omeje has over the years shifted her practice from utilitarian ceramics using the potter’s wheel to using techniques of pinching, tying, wrapping and hanging to manipulate and experiment with clay. This shift in technique opened up vistas and limitless artistic freedom of expression. Her current works are configured with globular clay units, clay rings, strings and savaged flip flops from and around Nsukka. These, she uses to accentuate her place in her immediate socio-cultural context, creating the paradox of hope and despair.
Her current body of works is a profound reflection on an often ignored reality of human existence: the frailty of life. Using terracotta pieces suspended with strings, she entraps our consciousness on a sober path of rediscovery. In this exhibition, the artist creates a single installation piece that engages the audience as co-creators. However, she invites her audience to participate not in building up of the work, but in a performative tearing down – a coup de grace.
Ngozi-Omeje Ezema graduated from the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2005, where she also obtained a Masters of Fine Arts degree in ceramics. Among other international projects, she was a resident artist in Sevshoon Art Centre, Seattle, USA, 2010 where she created the ‘Think Tea, Think cup’ art piece as a permanent installation at the centre. She has been selected for Saatchi START Art Fair 2018 and is also involved in the ongoing 60th Faenza Biennale Prize in Italy, 2018. Her Ceramic installation ‘Imagine Jonah II’ was part of the First International Biennale in Central China and ‘In My Garden there are Many Colours II’ –First West African Art Fair (ART X), Lagos, 2016. She also participated in “Le Pinceau De L’Integration” in Senegal, during the Dakar Biennale, 2016. Ngozi Omeje currently lives and works in Nsukka where she is also a lecturer of ceramics at the University of Nigeria.
Curator: Bisi Silva
Associate Curator: Iheanyi Onwuegbucha
Installation View, Ngozi Omeje, Connecting Deep. Images courtesy CCA, Lagos
Ori meta odun meta ibikan
19 June– 24 July 2016
Venue: Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos
“Orí méta odún méta ibìkan” features the process of works in progress by three Nigerian artists – Kelani Abass, Taiye Idahor and Abraham Oghobase – who work across three different media and undertook residencies over a three year period (2013-2015) in the same place at the Salzburg Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Austria.
The project began in 2012 when I was invited to give a talk on the panel during their Post Studio conference. I used the opportunity to take one of their courses on Curatorial Practice led by Swedish curator Maria Lind. This extended stay led to conversations with director Hildegund Amanshauser on involving more emerging artists from Africa in the programme focusing on Nigeria. This led to the collaboration between CCA, Lagos and the Summer Academy.
“Orí méta odún méta ibìkan” is an opportunity to present within a gallery space the artists’ continuing process of developing their practice since the residency. It also offers the public a discursive platform to engage the mutability of studio practice, the impact of international residencies on the local art sector as well as the benefits and at times the disadvantages of residencies.
Taiye Idahor, the first participant in 2013 chose the course “SIMSALABOOM! Before you learn to fly, learn how to fall” This was appropriate for the sculptor who was using mixed media but was interesting in taking it further by trying other media. The course’s focus on collage provided the perfect opportunity for a new direction. As she observed and interacted with her colleaugues whilst they worked their process – most of them new to her – responded to her interest not only in layering, cutting, pasting, scratching, but also to the tactile, to textures and to the three dimensionality with which she was so familiar in her sculptural work. Her presentation here consists of a self portrait in the Salzburg studio made up of several pieces to make a mosaic on which she is cutting, layering, pasting bits and pieces that come from all three artists’ time and experience of the residency creating one work in which three experiences coalesce.
Stamping History by Kelani Abass (c) CCA, Lagos
For Kelani Abass, this opportunity to travel to Europe for the first time, to engage another country and culture was a strong motivation as was his chosen course “Painting the Cliché”. Known locally as a painter’s painter, he was fascinated with stretching the possibilities of painting. His objective was not to produce new work but to explore new ways of seeing, of learning and painting. Kelani took two things with him to Salzburg; a stamping machine and a local Ankara cloth. He found the strong art historical context through the reading and analysing texts about painting stimulating coupled with the visits to the museums. The biggest impression on him was the omnipresence of Mozart through monuments, street names, on chocolate bars, public square, and everything possible. Responding to this obsessive focus on Mozart especially as his birthday approached led him to thinking about time (a thematic focus that is to be found in Abass’ work over the years) and about numbers. This resulted in him putting his stamp at 0 and stamping 1,756 (year of Mozart’s birth) times to create a portrait of the iconic Mozart. On the same paper he added a collage of other material that feature the portrait of Mozart. This was the first work of ‘stamping’ he created.
Photographer Abraham Oghobase took the course, ‘The possible impossibilities of presentation or Reading/Making Pictures: The production of meaning”. Oghobase sought to explore, experiment and stretch the narrative potential of the image and in doing so to create new meanings through the intersection of painting and printing. By challenging the attributes of a photograph, the veracity of the image, and its truth making properties he pushes the conceptual limits of his practice. A new process was developed in collaboration with Kelani Abass taking his images of monuments as well as details of ordinary objects in his room in Salzburg from a digital photo to film to plate and to print exploring the process of lithopress as it rates to photography. As the printer separates the colours – cyan, black, magenta, yellow – Oghobase asks him to layer the plate with a bit of yellow or to add blue to the cyan and a grey sky becomes a painterly purple image effacing the ‘reality’ of the image. Since returning his search has been to imbue the image and the photographic and the printing process with new meaning and new life that are at once poetic, subtle yet powerful.
Installation view of gallery (c) CCA, Lagos
“Orí méta odún méta ibìkan” consider the residency as an extension of the artist’s studio, a space of experimentation, of errors and counter errors, as moments of freedom and possibilities. This presentation by Kelani Abass, Taiye Idahor and Abraham Ogbohase attempts to engage and challenge the supremacy of the finished work by laying out the process, the turns and returns as they search for new directions and meaning.
This collaboration with Salzburg summer academy of Fine Arts continues, extended to mainly former participants of the CCA, Lagos international art school programme Asiko. In 2016 the opportunity is extended to Asiko 2015 Maputo alumni Zambian artist Mulenga J. Mulenga.
Kelani Abass (b. 1979) studied at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, graduating in painting with distinction. Kelani has won several awards and prizes including 1st prize in painting of the Caterina De Medici/3rd Black Heritage Prize (2010). Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Aso-Igba’ Art clip Africa, Lagos (2016); ‘Asiko’ Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (2013); ‘Man and Machine’ Omenka Gallery, Lagos (2011) and ‘Paradigm Shift’ Mydrim Gallery, Lagos (2009).
Taiye Idahor grew up in Lagos Nigeria, she studied Fine Art (sculpture) at Yaba College of technology Lagos Nigeria. She has participated in a number of exhibitions and workshops both home and abroad to including Dubai Art Fair, Marker 2013; her first solo exhibition ‘Hairvolution’ in Lagos Nigeria 2014 and Timeline a residency exhibition in Johannesburg South Africa 2015. www.taiyeidahor.blogspot.com
Abraham Onoriode Oghobase was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1979. He studied at the Yaba College of Technology’s School of Art, Design and Printing in Lagos, majoring in photography. His photography has been exhibited in Nigeria and across Africa and Europe. He was longlisted for the 2013 edition of the AIMIA-AGO Photography Prize and was a finalist in 2014 for the prestigious Prix Pictet global award in photography and sustainability.
Videonale in Lagos
Changing City – Shifting Spaces
31 January – 28 February 2016
Videonale, Bonn, and Video Art Network, Lagos, present VIDEONALE IN LAGOS
CCA, Lagos / Goethe-Institut Nigeria / KfW Stiftung
Videonale, Bonn, and Video Art Network (VAN), Lagos, join forces to present the project ‘Videonale in Lagos: Changing City – Shifting Spaces’. The project is an initiative of KfW Stiftung which wishes to strengthen new media art in Nigeria by supporting local up-and-coming talents in establishing international contacts. It is realised in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Nigeria and the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos.
All images courtesy Jude Anogwih
When looking at today’s globalised, digital realities the language of the moving image has become a universal tool to comment and reflect on the ever-shifting spaces of everyday life. With the topic ‘Changing City – Shifting Spaces’ Videonale in Lagos explores the dynamics of urban space in a video art workshop for emerging artists from Nigeria, led by the internationally acclaimed Anglo-Ethiopian video artist Theo Eshetu in collaboration with the Nigerian artist/curator Jude Anogwih (VAN Lagos), and a following exhibition curated by Jude Anogwih (VAN Lagos) and Tasja Langenbach & Jennifer Gassmann (Videonale).
Additionally there will be a presentation and screening of the adjunct project ‘Jogja – Lagos: Changing Cities – Shifting Spaces’, a video art workshop aiming to connect excellent emerging Indonesian and Nigerian video artists. It took place in October 2015 as part of Biennale Jogja VIII ‘Hacking Conflict: Indonesia meets Nigeria’ in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
With works by Ima Abasi-Okon, Aderemi Adegbite, Jude Anogwih, Victor Ehikhamenor, Theo Eshetu, Christoph Faulhaber, Heidrun Holzfeind, Uche-Okpa Iroha, Zhenchen Liu, Melanie Manchot, Emeka Ogboh, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Otolith Group, Nicolas Provost, Adejoke Tugbiyele, Emeka Udemba, Zsolt Vasarhelyi, Jan Verbeek, Tobias Yves Zintel.
23 January 2016, 5pm
Theo Eshetu, artist (Berlin/Rome)
Department of Creative Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos
28 February 2016, 2-6pm: CCA. Lagos
Presentation and screening of the video art workshop at Biennale Jogja XIII ‘Hacking Conflict: Indonesia meets Nigeria’, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, October 2015
As part of the project, a workshop was also held from January 13-23 at the Goethe-Institut Nigeria, German Cultural Center, Lagos City Hall, Catholic Mission Str., opp. Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos Island. Lagos with Jude Anogwih and Theo Eshetu as workshop coordinators.
The topic of the workshop is in line with the general exhibition theme “Changing City – Shifting Spaces” – it is about the politics of public spaces in Lagos. How our urban environment affects our (cultural) identity, movements, behaviors and interactions? With these questions in mind the workshop participants performed different research and artistic activities to approach the urban landscape of the city of Lagos.
Changing Cities – Shifting Spaces, afforded participants to observe Lagos through various perspectives and dynamics, from what is visible, physical, cultural, socio-political, and economical to other multidimensional forms that can be felt and imagined. Subjects on historic, modern and existing lifestyles of Lagos will form part of the perspectives that would be highlighted on during the workshop. Through extensive collaboration, the participants shared ideas and produce video works, which deconstructed, enlightened and reflected to how we live and imagine our cities and public/private spaces in this current time.
Participating artists wrere not accustomed to working with the medium of video art but have been working with other lens based art forms such as photography and film. The selection for the participants for this workshop was based on the criteria to involve artists that were open to experimental art forms, encourage a new form of artistic interaction in Lagos and broaden the discourse on video art in within the continent.
“VIDEONALE IN LAGOS: Changing City – Shifting Spaces” is a project initiated by the foundation KfW Stiftung, Frankfurt, in cooperation with Goethe-Institut Lagos and Centre of Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos. It is presented by Videonale, Bonn, Germany, and Video Art Network Lagos, Nigeria, and consists of a video art workshop and a subsequent exhibition.
Outcome from this workshop is presented at the Goethe-Institut, Lagos as an extended part of the exhibition.
For more information, please contact
Dr. Nicola Müllerschön, Programme Manager Arts and Culture, KfW Stiftung, Frankfurt: firstname.lastname@example.org
CCA Lagos, Nigeria
31 January– 28 February 2015
Stephanos Tsivopoulos, Amnesialand, 2010, Video Still. Copyright the artist.
The Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos in collaboration with the British Council, presents an exhibition of five international new media artists contextualized by London based gallerist and curator Bea Herhold de Sousa.
Artists: Declan Clarke (Republic of Ireland), Nooshin Farhid (Iran), Hetain Patel (GB / India), Janek Schaefer (GB/ Poland/ Canada) and Stefanos Tsivopoulos (Greece/ Iran).
In his 1993 essay “ In “The Heart of Darkness”, more than a decade prior to the Western economic and philosophical crisis the Nigerian artist and art historian Olu Oguibe wrote “The contest for History is central to the struggle for a redefinition and eventual decimation of centrism and its engendering discourses”. The works in this exhibition openly query systemic categorisations in favour of a more personal and also passionate search for the multi-facetted truths.
There will be a talk at the British Council
Talk Event with Andrew Esiebo, Ore Disu and Bea de Sousa: Wednesday, Feb 4, 2015 at British Council Garden, Ikoyi- 4pm
1 Work: Odun Orimolade
14 July – 22nd August 2014
The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos presents 1 Work, a new project that invites an artist to present a single work as a way of highlighting a specific medium, engaging a particular idea or creating an ambitious new work which may not be possible through other platforms or to simply use the space as a laboratory or studio that encourages a direct engagement with a diverse audience. The first 1 Work project is presented by Odun Orimolade, for whom drawing is a principal component of her artistic practice, as well as being central to her research interests.
Using the gallery wall as her support, Orimolade’s intervention lies at the heart of the process of mark making and form generation. Her waiflike configurations allow a play of inventive and intuitive biomorphic images to evolve producing drawings that map volume, contextualize place and more tacitly than explicitly invites the viewer to interact, to react and even to question. The combination of research, process, and interaction are tools which contribute to the articulation of a trajectory that attempts to evolve an artistic language that is personal but also collective, spontaneous yet measured. In so doing she hopes to deconstruct a received history of drawing by activating an alternative language that prioritizes locality and specificity. The 1 Work project will unfold across the wall over a 21-day period.
Odun Orimolade graduated in painting from the Yaba College of Technology School of Art, Design and Printing, Lagos, Nigeria. She holds a postgraduate Diploma in Visual Art from the University of South Africa, Pretoria where she is also currently completing her Masters in Visual Art. She has participated in several exhibitions locally and internationally, including solo shows such as Facets of a Psyche, Terra Kulture, Lagos(2006), A Secret Place, Unisa Gallery, Pretoria, SA (2012) and Being and Becoming, Art21 Space, Lagos (2014). Recent group exhibitions have included Ravy Festival, Yaounde, Cameroun (2014), 50th anniversary exhibition, Society of Nigerian Artists, Omenka Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos (2014), Six Draughtsmen, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, New York (2013) and Come release me, National Pop Up Theatre, Goethe Institute, Lagos (2013). Orimolade lives and works in Lagos as an artist and a lecturer at her alma mater.
1 Work project is conceived by Bisi Silva and curated by Jude Anogwih.
Join, observe and interact with Odun Orimolade at the CCA, Lagos gallery, open to the public from 10am- 6pm Monday to Friday.
El Anatsui: Playing with Chance
14 March– 26 April 2014
Installation view at CCA,Lagos. Photo: Jude Anogwih
Over the past forty years El Anatsui has expanded the language of contemporary sculpture not only in Nigeria but also internationally. From the beginning of his career, he has sought to challenge the boundaries of artistic practice as well as overcome the constraints of material available to him locally. In so doing some of his earliest works started with amassing discarded wood to create the wall hanging trays characteristic of his first wood pieces. His move to Nigeria in 1970s led to a sustained period of work in clay resulting in critical acclaimed works such as Broken Pots Series. By the early 1980s, he returned to wood after a workshop in America and began his power-saw wood sculptures for which he became known and celebrated across Nigeria. In 1990, Grace Stanislaus, then curator at the Studio Museum Harlem showed these sculptures for the first time internationally during the 44th Venice Biennale in the seminal exhibition Contemporary African Artists: Changing Tradition. However the widespread international acclaim that Anatsui has received in the last decade have been reserved for his scintillating monumental bottle top sculptural hangings.
Over a forty year period Anatsui has used his work to engage with and comment on African history, colonialism, the post-colonial condition as well as the daily realities and experiences on the continent. As Nigerian artist and art historian Olu Oguibe states “from the very beginning Anatsui’s art has focused on and found its core meaning in Africa: the continent, its people, its history and cultural heritage, its predicament.” In addition he sought meaning and communication through African signs and symbols such as Adinkra as well in Uli and Nsibidi writing systems.
The Centre for contemporary Art, Lagos is pleased to present El Anatsui:Playing with Chance to mark the 70th birthday anniversary of one of Africa’s most acclaimed contemporary artists. The exhibition is shaped primarily through archival material in an attempt to present new insights into the making of his works as well as the development of his career. Through this presentation an array of disparate materials are brought together from his studio, his study and his library including sketchbooks, drawings, letters, exhibition planning and instruction documents, books he reads, books he features in as well as brochures and exhibition publications to which he has contributed especially of Nigerian artists. Also included are a few photographs taken during his and just after his university education in Ghana, videos about him, fragments of the bottle top works ‘salvaged’ from his studio, his chainsaw wood sculptures and his early tray hangings and even a selection of his payslips from the University of Nigeria over a 36 year period. El Anatsui was a consummate teacher who made an indelible mark on his students, many of whom are now enjoying increasing national and internationally visibility. His concerted efforts in encouraging the visibility of female artists is highlighted by inviting three of his former students Nnenna Okore, Lucy Azubuike and Amarachi Okafor to participate in the exhibition.
El Anatsui was born on the 4th of February 1944 in Ghana. Since 1975 he has lived and worked as an artist and lecturer in Nigeria, based at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Since retirement in 2011 from the University, he lives between Ghana and Nigeria. Anatsui has taken part in over 100 solo and groups exhibitions, several biennales and triennales in Nigeria, across Africa and internationally. Over the last decade he has been the subject of important solo exhibitions including Gawu, which toured in the UK and USA from 2003-2008 and the extensive retrospective When I last spoke to you about Africa organised by the Museum for African Art, New York which toured to several institution in the USA and Canada 2010-2012. Anatsui’s work is to be found in prestigious private and public collections locally and around the world.
El Anatsui, Playing with Chance acknowledges his spirit of experimentation and his creativity, and celebrates a dedicated teacher, a committed mentor, a sincere person, a generous man and a quiet leader. In her contribution to his exhibition catalogue A fateful Journey: Africa in the Works of El Anatsui, that toured in Japan 2010-2011, CCA, Lagos director Bisi Silva asserts, “He has engaged profoundly with his cultural, political and social history. He has imbued the spirituality of his forefathers. In the final analysis Anatsui stands tall before the ancestors.
El Anatsui, Playing with chance was curated by Bisi Silva and curatorial assistant Taiye Idahor.
 Olu Oguibe, “El Anatsui:The Early Work” in El Anatsui:When I last wrote to you about Africa, Museum for African Art, New York 2010, pg 23