Cameroon, Togolese, and Nigerian artists explore Migration within the African Continent at Artpedia Gallery
Artpedia examined the concept of home and the issues of migration, movement, and mobility within the African continent in its exhibition that opened on the 14th of November, 2021 and runs until the 18th of December, 2021.
The works of Cameroon-born Nigerian based artist, Djakou Kassi Nathalie, Togolese Nigerian-born artist, Bamidele George Agbezin and Nigerian based artist Ben Osondu Onuorah, explored these issues. The exhibition also examined the concept of how Africans move from one country to another, one state to another within the same country, and from rural to urban area. It drew attention to the connection and values that weaves us together as Africans thus presenting a cosmopolitan African continent.
Nathalie draws inspiration from her childhood memory of playing with the red laterite earth of her native Cameroon, and African motifs, symbols, and masks. She reflects on how her experiences in her country of birth are similar to her experiences in the country where she is now based. Drawing conclusions from her meditation on these issues, she states that “Home can be anywhere”. Through her ceramic works, Nathalie depicts how several factors fit together to create an individual’s ideal home.
Benjamin Osondu Onuorah’s body of work, ‘Soul Searcher: Osondu’, draws inspiration from the rich Igbo philosophical ideologies such as the Uli and Nsibidi designs to explore various socio-cultural phenomena including the role of the soul in our choice of where we call home. He adopts the use of figures, symmetric lines, symbols, and motifs from his childhood memories of home, spirituality, and tradition in his drawings and paintings.
Togolese Nigerian-born artist, Bamidele George Agbezin’s body of work is deeply rooted in culture and tradition. Cutting across transcultural beliefs, lifestyles, and everyday living, Bamidele seeks to re-examine our values as humans by asking important questions about who we are, and what shapes our lives. He examines the impact of the COVID pandemic on our world today, and how we heal.
According to the curator, Favour Ritaro, “The exhibition is also a response to how the recent pandemic places restrictions on human movement through border closures, domestic lockdowns, social distancing, and curfews”
People being stuck in other countries and states for months gave them a longing for home. It poses the question, where is home? Is it a place, a feeling of acceptance, a person or even a group of people?
Attendees of the exhibition participated in an exercise where they answered questions like: What does home mean to you? What they think the result of everyone being able to go anywhere will be, how often they went home, where they called home, how many African countries they’ve been to, how long they stayed in the countries they’ve been to, where they are from, where they are currently based, where they were during the lockdown, if they’ve ever travelled out of the country before and where they went to.
The exhibition had in attendance the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar association, Lagos Branch, Ikechukwu Uwanna, among other art collectors and art lovers.