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Macson Obojemuinmoin, BookArtVille’s Art reporter

The 2024 Post-Easter/Post Ramadan culture scene in Lagos, Nigeria, is dominated by visual art exhibitions, not stage plays, not book readings, not new movies, but visual art exhibitions.

Afro Love Symphony IV, Mixed media on canvas, 146 x 116 cm, 2021

There is a good number of music performances, but over 10 art shows are running on the Island section of the city alone.

And this riot, we aver, is led by George Edozie’s celebratory viewings at the Wheatbaker Hotel, the city’s closest idea to an Art Hotel.

Dinner Party I, Mixed media on textured canvas,177 x 240 cm, 2022

Agu, a life-sized fabric sculpture, adorned in full regalia, largely of Ankara fabric, stands at the entrance to the hotel in Ikoyi. From a distance, it feels like a Masquerade figure and one could be forgiven for seeing it as a slight nod to Sokari Douglas Camp’s Big Masquerade with boat and household on his head, on view at the British Museum in London. This description is not to rain on Edozie’s parade. It’s the viewer’s way of connecting at a first glance. But the curator’s description is that Edozie’s Agu depicts “the king of Onitsha with his towering, large rimmed, Ofala festival hat”. Edozie’s Agu and Sokari Camp’s masquerade aren’t necessarily saying the same thing.

Afro Love Symphony III, Mixed media on canvas, 146 x 116 cm, 2021

The Agu piece actually stands apart from most of Edozie’s collection, entitled Gatherings, on view at the Wheatbaker, which is an exhibition produced by SMO Contemporary and curated by Sandra Obiago the Gallery’s founder and CEO.

Head of a Girl IX, Charcoal on paper, 60 x 45 cm, 2022

A large number of the pieces in the collection are drawings and paintings of angularly shaped heads. A significant number are group portraits: assemblies of people in celebratory poses.

These are fabric paintings with carefully composed mix of colours. The curator explains:

Ofuchi Afulenu, Enuma, and Obianozor

“His two largest works, Dinner Party 1 & 2, over two and half metres wide, reveal a rich inter-play of iconic personalities typically present at a gathering of friends. In the foreground he places a gift-wrapped present in comic-book style, alongside a small table with a bottle and wine glasses.

“Most of the faces are painted in profile with only one eye visible, or with eyes closed, each figure engrossed in inner thoughts. We can almost hear music surrounding the men with bubble-style afros and the women with square, shoulder length hairstyles, engulfed in party vibrations. Some heads are skewed sideways, as they respond to lively dinner conversation”.

Visa Lottery Photograph 26, Mixed media on canvas, 75 x 60 cm, 2023

This is all a visual experience, so we present, herewith, the photos of some of the works on view.

Agu Mixed media (fabric sculpture) 280 x 110 x 164 cm 2024
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Previous post Collateral Event at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Next post THE CULTURE, LAGOS Diana Bada Sings With the Souljahs at Bogobiri; Francis Goldman’s “One Love” at the Park; George Edozie’s “Gatherings” On View at Wheatbaker; Ola Rotimi’s “Man Talk, Woman Talk” at Terra; Tejumola Adenuga’s “Future, Past” at Art Twenty One; QDance Shows “The Art of KRUMP” at City Mall;….”

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