By Tajudeen Sowole
Increasing appreciation of Nigerian art abroad is being confirmed by a second exhibition, this year, in Paris, France.
Curated by Bose Fagbemi, the group exhibition titled Echoes From Afar, opens November 29 - December 20, 2016.at Fabrique 222, a place described as Dominican couvent for priests. In May this year, Fagbeni showed Mood Colour Harmony, a solo exhibition of paintings by Lagos-based artist, Duke Asidere at Maison Muller section of Splendens Factory, Paris.
For Echoes…, the artists include Abraham Uyovbisere, Emmanuel Ekefrey, Sam Ovraiti, Joe Amenechi, Tola Wewe, Zinno Orara and Asidere. Each artist is exhibiting 11 paintings.
From low angle capture of a three figure painting titled Princess, in bluish shade and hues by Uyovbisere; stylised figures, rendered on densely populated canvas of Ekefrey; to Sambisa Blues, Wewe's odd contribution to the tragic narrative of the world's most pronounced captives, Echoes From Afar offers followers of Nigerian art abroad the real texture of the people's creative depth. Also, Asidere's Blue Black Lady and Soul Music; 0vraiti's Togetherness, Landscape and Thinking; as well as Kano and Masked Faces by Orora add to the diversity of works that speak volume of the fact that Nigerian art is more dynamic than the much publicised 'conceptual art' contents that have been louder among African artists in Europe in the past few years.
Unlike U.K where most of the exhibiting artists' works have been shown either at group exhibition or art auctions, Paris is not a familiar space for Nigerian art. In fact, every year, some of the artists always have their works on display at Bonhams' Africa Now auction, in London. However, what is unfolding as a bold step from Fagbemi in Paris would create a new diaspora followers for Nigerian art in France. And perhaps, provides alternative taste in a space where most artists of Francophone West African have been holding sway ahead of their counterparts from English speaking countries.
The central theme, Echoes From Afar, according to Fagbemi represents richness of Nigerian art "being appreciated and accepted in France." It has been more of an eye opener to the public these past years, who are more intrigued with the divers styles as different from the negative news that comes from the media.
For the curator, showing art of African origin in the Diaspora is not exactly new. "I had a similar experience in 2002 in Trinidad & Tobago during the exhibition titled Linkages, which I also curated."
And 14 years after, the objective remains the same."The objective of the group exhibtion among others include promoting the creative and artistic education of Nigeria in France and to also maintain sustain Nigeria's rich cultural heritage."