This year, the Rele Arts Foundation’s Young Contemporaries 2022 six will engage issues from collective identity to reincarnation, time travel and contemporary beauty standards. The young and emerging artists working across a diverse range of mediums, having gone through a rigorous and intensive bootcamp programme, have been selected and highlighted as ones to watch in 2022, according to the foundation.
The annual showcase in its seventh year, opens Sunday 9 January to Saturday 5 February, 2022 at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.
The roll call consists Jessica Soares, Ayobami Ogungbe, Kenneth Oghenemaro, Nothando Chiwanga, Neec Nonso and Blebo Michael Jackson.
Rele Gallery is taking the following health and safety precautions to ensure the safety of everyone who attends including requiring that visitors wear a mask at all times, use the hand sanitizer provided before going into the museum, observe social distancing guidelines of six feet and limiting the number of visitors. It adds that those not feeling well should not come to the museum for the duration of the exhibition.
Soares is a self-taught artist, with a background in Marketing from Redeemer’s University. Combining drawing and painting techniques, her works draw from personal experiences in questioning the complexities and social notions around women’s hair in contemporary society. Featuring elaborately detailed figures swathed in colourful fabrics, her works also utilises Adire fabrics in exploring issues of legacy and familial bond.
Ogungbe is a visual artist whose work unites photography, weaving and collage techniques in constructing layered compositions that reflect on cultural practices, colonialism and history. Telling contemporary stories about his environment, Ogungbe’s work invites the viewer in exploring the various aspects of human existence and interaction that may appear mundane to the outsider.
Oghenemaro holds a BFA from the University of Benin. Working primarily in oil, he creates futuristic and allegorical scenes that explore issues from personal to social, political, religious and historical events. Done in a realistic style, Oghenemaro presents surreal landscapes populated with machines, natural elements and hybrid bodies depicting the interplay of time and memory.
Chiwanga’s work is central to personal experiences, reinvention and everydayness. Reflecting on womanhood, she addresses themes like education, food, bereavement, home tools and traditions. Chiwanga employs her body as a medium of memory and fiction to reveal the complex world of young womanhood in a changing society where traditional values are hanging by a thread and changing to become more relevant to the times.
Nonso is a visual artist working predominantly with photography. His work captures everyday life and its nuances in communities across Nigeria. Driven by a goal to catalyse critical conversations, Nonso aims to evoke emotion while inviting audiences to excavate memories and experiences as they encounter his work.
Jackson holds a BFA in sculpture from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi-Ghana. He employs drawing, painting, sculpture and installation in his exploration of geological formations, material memory and architecture while expanding existing modes of work-making and presentation. Blebo’s practice utilises materials like charcoal, phyto (natural pigment), earth colours (red ochre), bentonite clay and steel pipes. These elements are usually constructed together into installations that reference aesthetic ideas of abstraction, kinetic sculpture and minimalism.