Opening on Saturday, June 17th, 2017 by 3:00pm, at the classy café and cultural centre; Terra Kulture, is a joint exhibition by two artists who seem to be from opposite ends of the spectrum –Gabriel Awusa and Phillips Nzekwe.
It seems an unlikely collaboration, two artists from different generations; a ’60s baby boomer’s artist who studied at Auchi Polytechnic and a hip 80s borderline Generation Y artist from the Delta State University, Abraka. The former studied Painting and General Studies and the other majored in Sculpting, yet the duo have turned out to be a fitting and complementary pair to each other. Not only has this collaboration brought out the best from the Delta region of Nigeria, but it also highlights controversial issues of marginalization and repression felt by a significant minority of the Nigerian ethnicity.
Gab Awusa & Phillips Nzekwe at the exhibition press briefing.
In their body of works, both artists chose to invert the narrative, exhibiting colorful, energy-filled paintings, instead of conveying messages of gloom and scenes of environmental degradation. Nzekwe centered his pieces on unexpressed emotions, told through his “Crush” series; intense, unspoken feelings -a yearning for that which seems out of reach. Awusa on the other hand bases his on the fecund nature of the region, simplified into the power of nature and the woman; both emblems of fertility, continuity and a wealth of potentials.
Different Strokes runs from the 17th through the 27th of the month of June. More about these assumed obscure, yet relevant artists and their works can be learnt by visiting the show. Phillips Nzekwe, (1981) is from Ossamala in Delta state, he prides himself in creating art that explores environmental, and socio-cultural concerns; often fabricated from discarded and salvaged materials. He owns and manages the Akademik Art Studios, a vibrant art space providing workshops, residencies and internship facilities for creative minds in Asaba, Delta state. Phillips recently opted out from a PhD programme in Fine Arts at his Alma Mater, the Delta State University, citing creative restrictions. Gabriel Awusa also hails from Delta state, (Ogoda), a riverine community. He had a stint in the advertising industry after his formal art education at the Auchi Polytechnic in 1988, then resigned to pursue a full-time studio practice which he has maintained for the past 27 years, in this span of time, he’s had five solo exhibitions.
Different Strokes was curated by Akinyemi Adetunji.
Nzekwe flanked by his art at the exhibition hall -Terra Kulture.