Sunday, 29 April 2007

Nigerian Artist Olu Amoda's forthcoming first solo New York exhibition is at Skoto Gallery

Head & Tie: Fashion Architectronic
A solo exhibition by Olu Amoda

In this body of work, the artist draws upon the fashion, the head-ties and the lifestyles of the high and low society women in Lagos, as well as the textures, harmony, dissonance and the complications of urban living through the subjective lens of his experience, knowledge of the formal language of sculpture, metal lines and forms to create works that are evocative, capture the vitality and dynamic of cosmopolitan Africa, and the power of mass and space to clarify the spirit of the people. He is aware of function and experiment in the creative process and possesses a strong ability to draw in space by cutting, rolling and bending metals or fusing found objects – not with a pencil, but a welding torch.

Olu Amoda’s work involves welding several found objects including iron, a tough unyielding material lacking in the fine sinuosity of the precious metals to create sculpture that are full of powerful contrasts. They are gritty and seductive, brooding and redemptive, personal and monumental all at the same time. The power of the work derives from its combination of abstract shapes with pointed references to the human form while the use of other materials enhance the crisp contours and imparts a solidity typical of conventional sculpture that are imbued with enigmatic beauty that reflects subtle understanding of context, respect for tradition while embracing modernism and capable of attaining a synthesis between matter and space.

His work indicts the social and political reality around him, a reality shaped by his perspective as a leading African artist of his generation whose work continues to help shape perceptions about the aesthetic and cultural character of the continent. At a time, when so much attention is being given to the works of African artists who live and practice outside Africa by curators and exhibition organizers in the West in constructing narratives on contemporary African art practice, Olu Amoda and other artists who live and work in the continent, provide an alternative, optimistic stance in the repositioning and rewriting of art historical discourse with deep insightful commentaries and observations on the social, economic and political realities of modern Africa.

The Exhibition begins runs from the 10th May to June 30th 2007

For more information go to
culled from the press release.

El Anatsui's solo exhibition opens at the Fowler Museum, LA

El Anatsui: Gawu

"It's hard to think of many found-object artists who have achieved work as intricately made, culturally resonant and visually sumptuous as El Anatsui's."
Art in America, May 2006

Originally from Ghana but living in Nigeria since 1975, El Anatsui is one of Africa's most influential artists, recently named by Britain's The Independent as one of the fifty greatest cultural figures shaping the continent. His work dwells on the continent's history, drawing simultaneously on traditional African idioms and contemporary western art.

This exhibition includes eight large-scale works that make use of large quantities of discarded everyday objects such as bottle tops, flattened food tins, and cassava graters woven together to create magnificent sculptural 'tapestries,' which recall the Ghanaian tradition of weaving kente cloth.

April 22, 2007 to August 26, 2007

culled from the website.
For more information about the artist his recently launched website is a good starting point. Though not content rich it has enough information to give you an insight into his work. A plus for the site is the publication section which provides substantial bibliographical information for more in-depth research.

The site also allows us to follow the artist in the global presentation of his work with current and forthcoming exhibitions including Sharjah Biennale, Artempo, and 52nd Venice Biennale.

Monday, 16 April 2007

More Snapshots from Cape07

Anawana Haloba (zambia) at Cape Castle

Willem Boshoff (SA)presenting his work and Billie Zangewa (SA)at University of Stellenbosch Gallery

Senam Okudzeto (ghana/us/uk) at the centre for the Book talking about her work.

Mustafa Mulaka and Penny Siopsis (SA) at Cape Castle

Monday, 9 April 2007

Much ado about Cape07

Cape07 (formerly TransCape) opened to the public on March 24th. Billed as a 'cultural soup afrique' the event will be presenting over 40 artists or is it 45 down from the 65 originally intended across several venues in the city. The opening at Lookout Hill in the large Capetonian township of Khayelitsha proved to be an anticlimax for a project that had been in development for over 5 years when Susan Glanville floated the idea in 2002. My experience of the opening was one of a din. First a wedding reception taking place at the same time in the same venue and then the terrible acoustic which meant that it was more or less impossible to hear what the minister for culture Pallo Jordan was saying. Not minding the commotion - including a performance taking place on the roof (which i missed) Dr Jordan blissfully continued reading out his speech whilst I took the opportunity to slip into the gallery which was one of the main venues for Cape07.

The exhibition was well presented, and there were little surprises or discoveries. It was a verrrry safe exhibition that included locally and some internationally established South African artists such as Marlene Dumas, Nicholas Hlobo, Nontsikelelo ‘Lolo’ Veleko, David Goldblatt and Dineo Seshee Bopape amongst others. They were joined by other African artists such as Godfried Donkor,(Ghana/UK) El Loko (Togo/Germany)Hany Rashid (Egypt).

Godfried Donkor, Nicholas Hlobo andMambakweda Mutasa

Zanele Muholi

Hany Rachid

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Nigerian Bruce Onobrakpeya is 2007 Grand Prix Winner of Prints and Engravings

Dance to an enchanted Song 2006
This year Bruce Onobrakpeya of Nigeria, who is arguably among the world's leading experimental printmakers in the world, has been named 2007 Grand Prix winner of the Sixth International Biennale Exhibition of Prints and Engravings in Versailles France.

The Biennale of Prints which is widely regarded as an international benchmark of works in this genre, focused this year on showing the world, the very best in terms of quality and diversity, Contemporary African Art, which is so often unknown, overlooked and reduced to a collection of ethnic clichés. "The art and exhibit on show were a reflection of a kaleidoscope universe, a combination of all the cultures and religions that make up the history of the African population. It is not only about Sub-Saharan black Africa, but also about the south and North Africa, each of them providing their own specific point of view, about nearby and faraway Africa, that is artist who live and work in Africa, but also those who have set up home in Europe or the U. S." states the organisers.

The winning entries by the septuagenarian Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya who clocks 75 years of age in August 2007, are titled "Dance to Enchanted Song and Dance in the Bush." Both artworks created in 2006, in plastograph, a widely subscribed to technique of printmaking, developed and popularised by the artist in the mid 1960s in his Lagos Ovuomaroro Studio in Nigeria.

The constellation of African artists and visual stars, who do not cease to amaze the world by drawing from their tradition to express their modernity, amongst which are stars like Mohammed Omar Khalil of Sudan, who is also considered a universally known master whose works have also appeared in the greatest cultural institutions. Some of the other artists who were shown, have not quite attained the same level of universal acceptance in mainstream global artistic creations, but are certainly full of promise in the years to come. Also featured during the Biennale is a selected a number of young particularly interesting French engravers. The quality of their work shows that engraving continues to propel beautiful creations of art just as much as creations in the medium of painting or sculpture.

In the closing remarks, The President of the Council General des Yvelines, organizers of the Sixth International Biennale Exhibition of Prints and Engravings in Versailles, France, on March 23, 2007, after announcing the grand prize winner and making a presentation of a modest cash award that accompanied the prize concluded, "I hope that everybody will discover a new image of Africa through this exhibition. The confrontation between French and African artists, a new kind of intercultural dialogue should also be mutually rewarding". In all there were fifty four artists representing eighteen countries in participation. Of all the countries, Egypt had the highest entries with 6 artists, while other countries included France, S. Africa, Ghana , Zimbabwe and Sudan amongst others.

The Sixth Biennale of Engraving and Prints runs from 23rd March to 24th June 2007 at Domaine de Madame Elisabeth, 73, Avenue de Paris, Versailles, France.