By Prisca Sam-Duru
THIS summer, SMO Contemporary Art is delighted to curate a major solo exhibition motionEmotion, by Germany-based artist, Chidi Kwubiri, which is being presented by Gallery 1957 in Accra this week.
MotionEmotion is the culmination of a life-long dream of Kwubiri’s, in which he speaks to the power of music on the creative soul. The exhibition of 18 spectacular large canvases and a performance piece reflect the spirit dance of celebration, joy, melancholy, energy, hope, and protest that music evokes in people wherever they gather.
Born in 1966 in Umuahia, Kwubiri grew up in Nigeria and relocated to Germany in his twenties. He is a graduate of the Art Academy of Dusseldorf where he gained his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Fine Arts, and has spent the last 25 years exhibiting globally at prestigious galleries and museums in France, Germany, the United States, Russia, Belgium, South Africa and his native Nigeria.
He has featured in selected group and solo exhibitions which include:LebensWerkArbeit, Museum Am Dom, Trier (2018);Ich bin, weil du bist,Museum Am Dom, Trier (2017); Italia Docet, 56th Venice Biennale, Venice (2015);Mother Tongue, Temple Muse, Lagos (2013); Theme Africa, Phillips de Pury, New York (2010);and The Internationals, Millenia Gallery, Orlando (2004).
In motionEmotion, Kwubiri takes us on a journey across sound, rhythm, performance and dance, by presenting paintings which speak to the outer and inner manifestations of music on identity, the rise of freedom movements, and the impact of lyrics on society across different generations.
Presented by Gallery 1957 in Accra, Ghana and curated by Sandra Mbanefo Obiago in collaboration with SMO Contemporary Art, the works introduce a multi-layered, almost opaque world of colour and silhouette that gently seeps into visual consciousness. Utilising his characteristic dripping paint technique on large canvases, Kwubiri reveals expertly rendered hazy outlines of figures in motion and dance, in a sea of minute dots and drips.
Kwubiri presents a new monochromatic body of work with minimalist colour highlights alongside his signature colour palette, which reinforce the power of unity and hope against the socio-political tensions surrounding global immigration issues. His bold interpretations also touch on the impact of music on global youth movements by interpreting cross-generational rhythms, culture and political consciousness.
The exhibition at Gallery 1957 shows Kwubiri on a journey of sensory memory through paintings of cultural crusaders – such as afrobeat legend, FelaKuti and reggae prophet, Bob Marley – juxtaposed against contemporary dances with their roots in Africa,including twerking, popping & locking, hip hop, and rap. motionEmotion is set against a backdrop of live music, freestyle instrumental and art-based performance.
“We are delighted to present Nigerian art to a broader audience across Africa,” said Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, the Founder and Artistic Director of SMO Contemporary Art. “We need more art institutions to collaborate across the continent, so that our amazing artists have a wider pool of collectors and supporters of their work.”
The exhibition opened on Thursday, June 28th, and runs until July 30th, 2018