‘Unfurling,’ a mother-daughter artistic journey, begins in Lagos

The poetry, a social commentary on life in an African mega-city, touches on everyday challenges and the desire to find the truth.

‘Unfurling,’ a unique presentation of 42 photographs and poems by Sandra and Amara Obiago, is being showcased at the Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos.

The exhibition is made up of a diverse body of images presented on large canvases and aluminium dibond plates, depicting expressions, patterns, and textures in landscape, nature, cloth, as well as light filled architectural spaces.

The poetry, a social commentary on life in an African mega-city, touches on everyday challenges and the desire to find the truth. It also focuses on a personal path to self-discovery; the poems are juxtaposed alongside photographs which visually strengthen the musings.

“Photography and poetry is private and personal to me. It is part of my inner musing when I am quiet and alone. Coming from a film background, which is a group art form, I have always felt solace and comfort in retreating into myself and creating with no one around,” said Mrs. Obiago, 50, an art curator and award winning film maker.

“Unfurling is a bold step for me. Sharing my artist heart in a new way. Still and raw. Revealing my words which I weave together when I retreat. My poems are my most spiritual and subjective activism,” she added.

In their photographic debut, both artists feature poetry alongside their work which touches on self-discovery, inquiry and adventure. They illustrate global themes of humanity’s search for meaning through space, light, natural and man-made patterns, illustrating various states of ‘Unfurling,’ a visual and philosophical ‘opening and release.’

The photography-poetry exhibition, an amalgam of experience and youth, explores both artists’ thought, memory and meaning reflected through everyday objects within one’s reach – a piece of cloth, a child’s laugh, a curled up leaf, or a solitary corridor.

“My inspiration for photography is trying to deliver an image that not everybody is focusing,” said Amara Obiago, 19, a first year International Affairs student with a focus on Language and Economics.

adire cross over II, Sandra Obiago, 2007

“For example, in 1989, when the Berlin Wall came crashing down, all the photographers went to West Berlin, but the one that won the award, only one man went to East Berlin and saw the effect.

“So it’s kind of looking at the world from a different angle, trying to deliberately look at what other people are not looking and deliver it in an artistic way,” Ms. Obiago, who started a photo-club in high school with other students and raised money to support a children’s charity project, added.

Victor Ehikhamenor, visual artist and writer, described the mother-daughter photographs as images that transcend the humans, nature and situations they capture at different times and various locations.

“They bridge the dichotomy of how we live and relate with our environment, and gently guide our eyes to look inward and reflect, slowing us down to review life and meditate on everything’s existence,” said Mr. Ehikhamenor, a former Artistic Director at the suspended NEXT newspapers.

According to TY Bello, singer and photographer, ‘Unfurling’ is not just photography and poetry, it is light in a simple and pure form.

“By seeing through their eyes we are lifted through the truth of two words and find ourselves making peace with where we are,” she added.

The ‘Unfurling’ exhibition runs through June till August 30th, and is sponsored by the Wheatbaker, Global Energy Group, and Ruinart.

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