Rele opens the year with the sophomore edition of the Young Contemporaries. This edition features a careful selection of immensely talented and promising artists. With grants awarded by the Rele Arts Foundation, a body of work was created for Young Contemporaries 2017. This year, ready to dazzle with their diverse forms of expression, are five artists: Marcelina Akpojotor, Rewa Umuna, Sejiro Avoseh, Ezekiel Odifeso, and Oladimeji Coker. They have individually produced work that boldly contributes to conversations around; human identity, traversing racial and cultural boundaries, femininity, and the duality of human nature.
In his mixed media series, Sejiro, makes a statement on the complexity of the perceived human identity, and questions external perceptions of the appearance. One’s appearance should not be the only unit that makes up one’s identity. His automobile-related face collage asks: Should we treat and judge humans as things? As you would judge a car for its looks. In the brilliant miniature series, he requests of the observer to look beyond what we see, to understand the many other things that make up the identity on a more visceral level.
Oladimeji, the photographer of the bunch, deftly tells a story of duality. “ In the beginning, we were created to subdue and preserve the earth,” his monochrome photographs tell a tale of the warring selves culled from the theories of a Jewish philosopher. The selves, he believes, had been created in man since inception. As we go along the photographic timeline we see these selves– the Subduer and the preserver express their contrasting approach to life.
Rewa takes to celebrating the feminine identity with vibrant acrylic colours. She puts to paper her experiences as an urban nomad, her movement through societal and racial boundaries in a triptych display. ‘Travellers,’ in its intentional use of bright colours seeks to evoke and invite you to a shared experience of the emotion and energy. Another approach to the feminine celebration is seen in the work of the mixed media artist, Marcelina, who has created beautiful textile portraits of toddlers which boldly represents the joys of motherhood. Her installation ‘Roots and Wings’ is as eye catching as her Ankara pieced portraits on canvas.
Ezekiel has represented how man exists in relation to his environment. Majorly working in nifty brush strokes, he captures the life of everyday people, some of which we might even know.
We opened this to the amazement of art lovers, buyers and friends of the artists on Sunday.
The young contemporaries 2017 exhibition will run till the 12th of February 2017. We hope you come around to share with this experience.