From April 7 to 14, 2018, Omenka Gallery will present NOSTALGIA: Glimpses from Diaspora, an exhibition of recent work in mixed media, acrylics and oils on canvas by Kunle Adegborioye.
The exhibition describes the artist’s condition, his oeuvre is indeed a personal way of dealing with contrasting identities and influences in his life, having been born and raised in Nigeria but for many years, living and working in the United Kingdom.
Today, several Nigerian artists share this condition of hybridity, many of whom have either been born, raised in the diaspora and relocated to Nigeria or studied and presently live and work in the diaspora. Unlike many of them who feel perhaps a sense of shame, loss or displacement, Adegborioye depicts memories drawn from his childhood in Nigeria. But they are not always happy yearnings as the title of the exhibition suggests.
Though reminiscent of a past growing up in Nigeria, a few of the works speak of persistent social ills and impoverishment brought about by the military dictatorship and corrupt politicians that have served the country for several decades. These hardships, the artist has accentuated in his canvases by the incorporation of texts gleaned from newsprint.
Kunle Adegborioye is successful in establishing a trans-Atlantic practice shuttling between Nigeria and the United Kingdom to facilitate his research. Though his work is informed primarily by his experiences in Nigeria, the narrative is not concerned with a search for roots, but about maintaining a presence amidst others who share his world. This world, he then creates and populates, perhaps by understandably casting himself in the characters.
Adegborioye has completed a Masters of Art at the Camberwell College of Arts, London, but his works retain much of the strongly figurative tradition of Yaba College of Technology, which he earlier attended while based in Lagos, Nigeria.
In all, the works are strongly individual and showcase an artist of sound technical ability and a deep understanding of society. Collectively, they capture our reality, offer hope and will remain powerful and relevant long past their time of creation.
—Oliver Enwonwu, MA Art History, Director, Omenka Gallery
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High-resolution images and more information on the artist are available on request.