Osoranna Mojekwu: Telling Pre-Colonial Africa Stories With Unique Art Installations
Osoranna Mojekwu, forging his own in the art community by his alias; Osora Moje, is a Nigerian-American Studio Artist, who has dedicated his art to tell visually compelling stories that aim to reintroduce the Nigerian society to the beauty of who they were prior to the infusion of Western culture.
He spent his formative years in Chicago, Illinois, and then relocated to Lagos, Nigeria where he acquired his secondary school education. According to him, “this was a part of my life that would seminally affect my mindset and influence as a young Nigerian artist.”
His passion for creating these visually breathtaking pieces, started with his fascination and interest in recyclable materials, followed by his curiosity of how they could be manipulated to create stunning shapes that are capable of immersing the viewer’s senses.
At every glance, a three-dimensional experience is instantly created, as the combination of shapes works together to arouse the viewer’s desire to touch.
Even from a distance, the sheer depth of these pieces are undeniable, and the emotions that they evoke are heartfelt, as the stories of Nigerian ethnic and cultural diversity spring off the canvas.
His first collection, “Don’t Touch My Crown” was created in 2016, with the aim of painting Nigeria and her people completely in greyscale.
This was an aim to represent the financial and economic instability of the nation, while keeping his characters in the spotlight, portraying their beauty amidst the grimness in the background of the pieces.
He depicts the Nigerian culture through the attires that he adorns his subjects with (which are consistently three-dimensional and multi-colored), to create a disparity between the financially poor nation, and a culture that is richer than any other in the world.
Some of his pieces show the contrast between the people and the culture allowing the observer to dive into a deeper consciousness about where we are and where we can go together as a nation.
Paintings Of Today For Tomorrow’s Conversation
His work takes a practical and critical look at the rising need to preserve the ecosystem, particularly in Lagos, Nigeria.
As his art aims to further general awareness, Osora’s environmentally conscious work primarily focuses on using recyclables like iron, paper, beads, and plastics to further this notion and, “ broaden the conversation across all tiers and ages of our society”, he says.
“Look beneath the Surface”, his latest collection gives us a clearer sense of who Osora is and what he currently stands for, as he takes his penchant for environmental consciousness a step further and philosophically challenges the ethos of Present-Day Lagos.
The 25 piece collection made with a peculiar metallic color pallet range, focuses on how, with the rise of social media, we as people do not make the effort to, “look beneath the surface” of the individuals that we encounter in person and online.
According to the artist, the pieces were largely inspired by his personal experience having felt at a time misunderstood and misinterpreted.
In a statement, he mentioned that the collection was made in light of the social media era where, upon seeing a few posts on an individual’s social page, we feel that we possess enough information to judge their personality and come to a justifiable conclusion about who they are or who they are becoming.
Another adjacent matter is that as people, we do not find it convenient to share the entirety of our lives: be it good, bad, or ugly.
We live multi-dynamic and multifaceted lives, yet all that we tend to share is one image; one-shot that is incapable of fully representing our multidimensional personalities and experiences. In his opinion, “there is a grave disconnect and [he] wants to remind people of that and so much more.”
He is giving a private group of about 100+ Art connoisseurs, Lovers, and Enthusiasts an opportunity to be engaged by some of his art pieces on the 17th of April 2021 at the Centurion Showroom Lagos.
The Solo Art Exhibition is a collaboration between Osora Moje and Centurion, merging the worlds of Luxury Auto and Luxury Art sponsored by Diageo’s Johnnie Walker, “The World’s No. 1 Scotch Whisky, Enjoyed and Embraced in Over 180 Countries..” and My Girlfriend’s Closet, ‘‘A High Luxury Consignment Store at 40 Alexander Road Ikoyi, Lagos’’.
Both brands believe in empowering young artists with highly creative minds and see this as an opportunity to show their support.
The Manager of My Girlfriend’s Closet in her own words said:
We as a brand believe and promote sustainable living. We must learn to teach ourselves and our children how not to be wasteful, but resourceful.
Johnnie Walker is particularly excited about this collaboration with Osora Moje.
As a brand, we are eager to provide the opportunities and the right platforms that consistently inspire and celebrate the talents of our young consumers. So to all young creatives, stay bold, shine bright, and keep walking. The world awaits you.
Osora Moje has a combination of over five (5) years of experience, creating numerous pieces that have been exhibited and presented at different Art Exhibitions and Gallery Showcases in Chicago, New York, and Lagos, Nigeria.
Projects like; Commission and Gallery Showcase at GAC Motors, Victoria Island, Lagos between in 2019, Art House Contemporary’s 2017, 2018 and 2019 Affordable Art Auctions, Stage Art Production at TerraKulture’s “FELA and the Kalakuta Queens’’ in 2019, Art Exhibition at Art X Lagos by Access Bank in 2018, are among a some of the feats that the already burgeoning artist has under his belt.
Even with all of these, the 22-year-old artist believes that he has only just begun to scratch the surface of the Nigerian art industry and is excited at what the future holds.
Aside from participating in several Art Exhibitions and Competitions in Nigeria, Osora Moje has also bagged several awards as a budding and young Studio Artist.
Awards such as Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar Award in 2020, Art Institute of Chicago’s Emerging Award in 2019, and being awarded as an Art X Prize Finalist at Art X Lagos in 2018.
He holds a dual-degree degree Bachelor of Science in Studio Art and Marketing Strategy, from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and following in the footsteps of his greatest inspirations; Ibe Ananaba, Gbenga Offo, and Marc Padeu, he is currently looking to increase his reach as he continues to share these rich stories through art to a larger, more diverse audience.
To know more about Osora Mojekwu and his Art, please visit his website www.osoramoje.com and follow him on social media.
Instagram – @art.mojekwu | @osoranna, and Linkedln – www.linkedin.com/in/osoranna-mojekwu-