By Prisca SamDuru
The exhibition hall of Art Twenty One, renowned art space and platform dedicated to promoting local and contemporary art in Nigeria, is currently adorned with “Layers of Time and Place: What Lies Beneath (2018)”, a solo exhibition by Abraham Onoriode Oghobase.
The photography exhibition which opened on October 12 and runs till November 7, 2018 at Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island, Lagos, is segmented into 4 parts; Landscape Series, The Rock Anatomy, Self Portrait and What if Australia Colonized Nigeria?
“Layers of Time and Place: What Lies Beneath (2018)” was inspired by the artist’s first trip to Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria, where he was fascinated by the vastly different terrain from the urban life of Lagos, his birth home. He found the man-made ponds and lakes, which form a dominant part of the modern landscape city of Jos and its surrounding areas as well as the prevalent mining of tin deposits, to be visually striking.
It was while researching it’s history that the artist discovered the prevalent mining of tin deposits that dates back to 1904 during the British colonial mineral exploration in the Northern Protectorate.
Oghobase who studied at the Yaba College of Technology’s School of Art, Design and Printing majoring in photography, is driven by a quest for the purpose of existence.
This informs his unique form of art as he explores issues relating to human emotions and identity against specific socio-economic backdrops, often using himself as material for his performance-based work.
“The resulting body of Oghobase’s work, sponsored by Art Twenty One, is a cross-sectional study of moments frozen in time, detailing his experience in and around Jos. The series reveal multiple layers of the artists’ personal encounter with the unique topography of Plateau state – bare grasslands and ancient rock formations, all indelibly scared by human pursuits of the past and present.”
The exhibition also presents digitally altered self-portraits of British colonial history, dusty backdrops of Jos’ mining legacy, installation of rock specimens highlighting the materiality of the work, close-up self-portraits of natural environment interfacing with humans and images revealing artisanal miners and herders.
Also, featured is the “What If Australia Colonized Nigeria?, a sub-series first presented in 2017 at the Leopold Museum in Vienna, Austria.
“Layers of Time and Place, ultimately aims to provide an opportunity to experience the antiquity and life of a people, using history as a framework, to see beyond the image, stretch the limits of perspective and imagination and delve deeper into the sense and meaning of a place”, Oghobase stated about his work.
Commenting on the work, Caline Chagoury, Founder of Art Twenty One and sponsor of the “Layers of Time and Place” said, “The spectacular thing about Abraham’s work is how he has succeeded in capturing scenes and moments that are assumed to have been overtaken by time and event…”.