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Hyphenating art logic

After a successful hosting of his last solo exhibition titled, What they did not teach me in Art School in 2009, where he argued about the state of art students after graduation, the Nsukka trained painter, Joseph Eze last week came back with a new experiment on how the professional artist can sustain himself in the business of art practice with a solo exhibition titled, Hyphen: An Exhibition of Painting and Installations.

The exhibition, his third solo effort opened on the 12th of March, at Nike Art Gallery, Lekki and ended on 18th of March.

For numerous art lovers, and especially art visitors at Nike Art Gallery, the exhibition afforded them the opportunity to see how the young artist corroborates with the efforts of Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) in keeping the city of Lagos clean by creating something from waste or discarded objects.

Woman with a rose, one of the works exhibited

According to the young artist, who claims that he suddenly realised that there were many things he was not taught while in school at the Fine and Applied Arts department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the present exhibition which is a continuation of the last one is to test fresh ideas and bring something new to the audience.

“I want to use the show to drive the message home to fellow artists especially younger ones coming out from schools that an artist should not remain a particular type of artist and also to challenge the sensibility of the artists who may have other ways to eking out a living ….”

Eze in this exhibition, in his usual manner further argues that one can combine his/her creative work and still do other things to make a living rather than remaining depending on one moribund activity.

Th exhibition featured about 20 works of painting on canvas /fabrics and installations with beautiful colour combinations that show the creative ingenuity of the artist. But the work that captured the attention of the viewers was an installation titled, Life band, made from recycled slippers and hand painted fabric.

It chronicles the life in the city of Lagos: the different aspects of life as experienced in Lagos, its extravagant party culture , the night life, migrations, developments and others. Others includes: Woman with a rose”[mixed media] depicting a woman holding a rose flower.It talks about human desire and anxiety, Tired nanny” [acrylic], which brings to limelight the nanny culture in Lagos. In Nigeria, while many families consider the use of nanny as a necessary ill, others see it as an indispensable need in stressful city of Lagos. The painting therefore poses the question as to whether the culture is an indication of a failure in parental duty.

Also commenting on the exhibition, Eze who uses any medium that catches his fancy stated that he is very conscious of the health implications of the discarded objects he uses, pointing out that the objects undergo thorough washing and sterilization before use and that ever since he began using them that there have not been any health related problems.

Continuing, he added that Hyphen which could be seen as the search for what would be termed an alternative is not an indication that the formal training he got from school does not offer all the knowledge needed for professional practice,but rather informed by the need to take a fresher look at the relevance of the art school curricular so that the products will come out better.

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