June Creative Art Advisory (JCAA) is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of recent and new works by Nigerian multidisciplinary artist, Olufunke Esekhalu Ojukwu. Presented at No Parking Lagos, Looking Out from Within will run from November 5 to 20, 2022 and showcase ten paintings from a new body of work that explores internal human conditions and her “Against My Wish” Series which began in 2017.
The exhibition largely addresses ideas about hope and expectations, womanhood, self-exploration and desires, gender-based injustices, and memories – both lost and cherished.
Olufunke Esekhalu Ojukwu is a painter and installation artist best known for her large-scale presentations. With her almost two-decade-long career, she has explored with materials and found objects as diverse as plastic bottle tops, aluminium, toothpicks, nylon plastic, rubber hair threads, and so on. Although the presented works in this exhibition are largely paintings rendered using a popular medium such as acrylic, oil, and charcoal the techniques she adopts are symbolic of her unique experiences and skilled practice. Much of Olufunke’s work is inspired by her personal relations alongside larger societal beliefs and shared challenges.
This exhibition features works from 2015 – 2022 with select media on canvas and board.
“My practice largely documents my thoughts and experiences. It also presents various opportunities for me to engage in critical discussion and advocacy. I am passionate about many socio-political issues, especially those that affect children and women.” – Olufunke Esekhalu Ojukwu
The space in-between ideation and completion is where Olufunke largely documents with her practice. A continued part of her process addresses personal ideas about waiting, hope, expectations and even hesitance. The works presented in this exhibition particularly raise questions such as – “Why do we wait?”, “How long do we wait?”, “Whom do we wait for?”, “What do we wait for?”, “Where do we wait?” But most importantly, “What do we do whilst we wait?” This is the space Olufunke vividly accentuates – a space of introspection and conversation with self. She encourages us to examine our inner thoughts and observe our mental state devoid of our surrounding limitations and possibilities.
4 paintings in the exhibition explore this introspectiveness with their subjects looking out to their external spaces from an opening usually created by a door that is ajar or an opened curtain. The paintings appear to be “windows” into their unconscious minds. See “Stepping Out with a Final Glance” and “I’ve Been Waiting III” as references. The figures portray Olufunke’s innermost thoughts that are often elusive, sensitive, and calm, yet significant amongst other surrounding elements.
An adept activist, Olufunke uses her “Against My Wish” series to shed light on institutionalised and deep systemic forms of sexual objectification, and abuse, amongst other injustices against women and young girls. This complements the advocacy work she does through various social groups and organisations such as “The Createves” and UR4AFRICA respectively.
Altogether the works record deep relatable human emotions and everyday stories – especially those that are often overlooked.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Olufunke Esekhalu Ojukwu is a Nigerian artist from Edo State but currently lives and works in Lagos. She is both a painter and installation artist who is known for her large-scale portraits of world-renowned personalities like Prof. Wole Soyinka using plastic bottle tops.
She gained admission into the prestigious Yaba College of Technology starting off with a National Diploma in General Art and thereafter became an Upper Credit class graduate in Painting from its prestigious art school.
Her practice explores general themes of womanhood, self-exploration, and various socio-political issues that affect children and women.
Her work has been shown in Lagos, Enugu, Abuja, and Accra. Some notable exhibitions and competitions she has featured in include; Within Our Grasp, National Museum, Lagos in 2005; Female Artists on Rampage, Aina Onabolu Hall, National Arts Theatre, Lagos in 2007; Life in My City, Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu in 2007; Celebrating 50–50 Independence; Rapprochment sponsored by Embassy of Spain, Abuja in 2010; 1 of 12 Finalists, National Art Competition organised by Nigerian Breweries and African Art Foundation, Lagos in 2016; Art Through Ages, Alliance Francaise, Accra in 2016; Timeless Memories, Freedom Park, Lagos in 2021; Artmiabo International Art Festival, Ebony Life Place, Lagos in 2022.
JCAA is a multi-service art advisory firm that provides customised and specialist support for artists, collectors and brands.
No Parking Lagos is an independent ‘blank canvas’ space open to hosting a wide range of activities not limited to presentations and exhibitions, workshops, conferences, singular or small group meetings, and retail pop-ups. It also serves as a creative space for the exchange of ideas. Located in a historic district within Lagos island, the space features a 60sqm column-free gallery and two garden terraces.
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