By Chris Onuoha
For Ken Nwadiogbu, it promises to be a trip some distance from the shore in the last quarter of the year. Though not on a refugee push on the Mediterranean, but on a transatlantic voyage to showcase 25 hyper realistic works.
From October 3 to 6, the artist will at the Brick Lane Gallery, East London present Contemporealism, an exhibition featuring over 25 original works of charcoal and acrylic on canvas. The exhibition hallmarks his first limited edition print release. It is also the first solo exhibition by the fast rising Nigerian artist.
Through his works, Nwadiogbu documents, evaluates, interrogates and challenges socio-political structures and issues with the aim of giving a voice to the voiceless –speaking on behalf of those who cannot be heard.
As a result of his art activism, he creates realistic imagery and employs elements of contemporary art to create illusion of form and space to tackle these issues, which he sees and experiences in his home country, Nigeria.
Working primarily with charcoal, acrylic and collage, his body of works triggers an intense emotional connection with viewers. Conceptualized by his desire to create social change, he debuts new body of work in Contemporealism and re-enforces the ills within the African society, while inviting viewers to ponder and question commonly accepted socio-political norms and structures.
Sparking on the show, Nwadiogbu said: “For me this show is to introduce my pioneered style Contemporealism, and present over 5 years of art practice. The viewers can hope to encounter rushes of emotions sparked by the storytelling in each piece.”
By creating hyperrealistic drawings that address African issues, the artist is able to firmly situate and make more visible Africans and even those in diaspora, within the context of broader issues affecting their day-to-day lives. Through each work, he engages with his viewers while changing narratives one piece at a time.
The 25-year-old Ken Nwadiogbu, who is popularly known as KenArt, is equally a Nigerian multidisciplinary artist and the inventor of ‘Contemporealism’ –a fusion that is primarily centered on Hyperrealism and Contemporary art.
Motivated by his desire to change his society and the way people think, his art also explores nagging issues like gender equality, African cultures and Black power. These are a few aspects of his current research and artistic practice.
Ken Nwadiogbu has featured in local and international group exhibitions and fairs including Art X, Insanity, It’s not Furniture, finding your Identity, Artyrama Art Exhibition, Empowerment Exhibition, Generation Y, Moniker Art Fair, Afriuture, LAX-SFO, In the Making, LAX-MSY etcetera. He will present his work at a solo booth in Moniker Art Fair on October 2, at the Moniker Art Fair in Chelsea West London while VIP press, collectors preview & print release will hold on Thursday, 3rd October 3, 5 – 8:30pm.
Some of the artworks to be paraded at this high-end exhibition include ‘Thy Brother is Not Thy Brother, Charcoal on paper, 2017, There was a voice 2019, Charcoal and Acrylic on Canvas, Victory Lap 2019 and others.