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At Alexis Galleries, 4 artists explore materiality, environment in Recycled Matter

Recently, there have been concerns around climate change and the need to recycle, reuse and repurpose organic and inorganic wastes to reduce waste littering and pollution. Artists are therefore responding to these concerns by recycling and repurposing wastes to address and comment on issues around them. Responding to this, Lagos-based art house, Alexis Galleries, is presenting a group exhibition of exploratory works by four Nigerian artists – Samuel Nnorom, Yusuf Durodola, Konboye Eugene and Chukwuemeka M. Osisiego.

Titled Recycled Matter, the exhibition, which is curated by Mathew Oyedele, featuring about three works each by the artists, opened last Saturday at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos. In his curatorial statement, Oyedele posits that by taking a vivid look at materiality and the environment, the exhibition, Recycled Matter, examines issues that originate from the local but are connected with vital global conversation. Nnorom presents works that continue his examination of social structure, social organisation, human condition and safe spaces, which began in 2020, and the history and social significance of Ankara fabric takes centre stage as he dialogues with the concept of space, distribution and distance. Eugene, while exploring the techniques of stitching and pasting flip flops, put up portraits of children to reference their innocence, simplicity and unadulterated thoughts.

“Here, Eugene connects process with subject as he relates the complicated process of creating art to training children,” notes Oyedele. On his part, Osisiego continues his inquiry into the Aristotelian concept of ‘Maintaining the Golden Mean’ where he advocates for courage and equilibrium in place of excesses and recklessness. “In these pieces, he intensifies his exploratory journey by incorporating aluminum cans into his wooden materials. “Durodola sees waste from the environment as extensions of human existence and custodians of human imprints and identity.

Here, he assembled automobile and electronic gadgets as well as polythene that are either sourced from the environment or obtained through exchange to negotiate the relationship between humans, spaces and waste.” Nnorom, who hails from Isiukwuato LGA, Abia State, was born in Jos North, Plateau State, Nigeria, discovered his talent at the age of nine while assisting his father in his shoe making workshop, where he started making life drawings of customers that visited the shop. He was also influenced by his mother’s tailoring workshop, as a child who played with colourful fabrics with sewing needles and thread.

He went further to develop this talent through apprenticeship, training, workshops, exhibitions, art school and practice. Nnorom holds a B.A Education (Sculpture major) from the University of Jos and is currently completing an MFA in sculpture from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He was a fellow at Guest Artist Space Fellowship and residency by Yinka Shonibare Foundation in 2022. He has won the National Art Competition organised by the National Gallery of Art in 2010 and 2012. He also won prizes in 2016, 2017 and 2019 editions of the ‘Life in My City Art Festival.’

Nnorom belongs to the New Nsukka School of Art and he is currently exploring Okirika clothes and Ankara fabric, using bubbles techniques as sculptural media while interrogating human experiences that relate to socio – political and economic issues. Born in Kaduna, Nigeria, Osisiego started out as a painter before delving into wooden exploration which has given him a voice and an identity.

He studied Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with specialisation in painting. He works primarily with acrylic on wood panels. He is inspired by nature, culture and his environment and has participated in a number of exhibitions and auctions. He lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.

Eugene works primarily with decorated flip flops obtained from drainages and dumping grounds. His choice of material and colourful palette is deeply rooted and built upon his training at the Auchi Polytechnic in Edo State where he graduated with a distinction in painting. As a student of Auchi Polytechnic, he was greatly influenced by the teachings of Kent Onah, who encouraged exploration of unconventional materials and recycling of solid wastes to manage environmental degradation. In 2016, he trained at the Universal Studios of Art under the guidance of Abiodun Olaku and Wallace Ejoh.

He was a resident artist with Omooba Yemisi Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF) in 2019, and was selected among other mosaic artists around the world for the international mosaic symposium, Patagonia. Durodola is a Guinness World Record Achiever (Largest Painting by Number) for Ecole de dessin, Lagos, Nigeria. He is a change-provoking recycled artist, deeply thoughtful conversational painter, inspired performance artist, distinguished curator, and impeccable creative director.

He is one of the most prominent and influential multi-media visual artists in the Nigerian art industry. Durodola is the founder and artistic director of Artegun Foundation, a platform vision to nurture the creativity of young artists and offer a difference in curative experience strategically to promote art. The exhibition, which will run till Saturday, June 25, is sponsored by Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, The Guardian, AMG, Logistics, Haier Thermocool, U.P.S, Aina Blankson, Lost in a City, Cobranet, Art Cafe, WazobiaTV, Lipton, Niger.

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