In Homeland Memories, the artist displays works infused with rich symbols which are grounded in Igbo cosmology and identity.
After his last show in 2010, artist and art historian, Onyema Offoedu-Okeke, is returning with Homeland Memories, a solo exhibition
of 25 acrylic on canvas paintings at Temple Muse, Lagos.
Homeland Memories, a body of recent works, showcases Offoedu-Okeke’s artistry of different techniques ranging from his
well-known rectilinear panels with vertical lines, looking like visual totems, to his ‘cranioglyph’ face series and his intricate grid-like patterned ‘tapestroid’ paintings.
“I am inspired by themes such as memories of histories and home, human resilience, ascendancy of the subaltern, thought-scapes as mechanisms of conflict resolution which address challenges and triumphs in human societies,” said Offoedu-Okeke, 47, a 1992 graduate of Architecture from the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus.
“If the jungle was the protector, muse and space which held and supplied countless ideas to African artists since the creation of Man, then contemplate the fate of art in the present dispensation of careless deforestation,” he added.
After his graduation from the university, Offoedu-Okeke went on to become a full time studio artist, taking part in over 20 international group shows including exhibitions in Britain, Spain, Germany and Sweden.
“When I look at my career, I tend to divide it into three stages. 1990-2000 was my Emergence period. From 2001-2012 was my
“Historiosity” period, during which time I did the research and documentation for the ground-breaking book, Artists of Nigeria. I believe I have now entered the Encapsulation period of my artistic journey. By exhibiting this body of work I am trying to encapsulate my stylistic legacy within the Nigerian Art space and beyond,” Offoedu-Okeke said.
In Homeland Memories, the artist displays works infused with rich symbols which reflect African roots and are grounded in Igbo cosmology and identity.
Some of the works to be exhibited include ‘Yesterday, All my Troubles seem so far away,’ a throwback of the classic line from The Beatles’ song; ‘Young Blood regarding the street of Anarchy,’ showing how the young act as firewood in most conflicts; ‘Isi Anyanwu,’ depicting people with long-growing, matted or intertwined hair locks typically viewed as exceptional or mysterious.
Professor Frank Ugiomoh of the University of Port Harcourt described Offoedu-Okeke’s works as a renascent artistic awareness which reminds “us of who we are within a connectivity that encompasses the future and the past that is vestigial to who we are today.”
“We encounter in Offoedu-Okeke a re-modernization of the past in contemporary identities,” Mr. Ugiomoh added.
The exhibition of Homeland Memories opens from June 23 until August 30, and is sponsored by international art sponsor, Ruinart, the world’s oldest champagne house.
“After a four year hiatus from the Nigerian exhibition circuit, we are delighted to host Homeland Memories in which Onyema Offoedu-Okeke presents a powerful fresh body of work steeped in ancient symbolism,” said Sandra Mbanefo-Obiago, the exhibition’s Curator.
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