Osa Amadi

Egharevba and Clem Akpang, FRSA, open their art exhibition titled “Creolization”, a visual perspective to the impact of new world in technology and travel among other global changes.

Scheduled to show in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, Abuja and Lagos, “Creolization” opens on April 12 and runs till April 18 at Calabar Sports Club, 2:00 p.m. The Lagos and Abuja show will hold in June and July at later dates and venues to be announced.

In a joint statement, Egharevba and Akpang said the artworld is currently reconfigured to an age of globalization. The areas of such global contents that connect the world, such as travel, migration, increased communication, technological advancement and cross-cultural meta-influences, they said, are all affecting how artists live and produce art.

Paintings, mixed media and installation dated 2020 are pieces to be exhibited by Egharevba during the exhibition. Among her works are:  lVisual Momentum (Fabric, lolly sticks and acrylics on canvas 145cmX102cm; Feminine perspectives (acrylics and Fabrics on canvas, 150cmX210cm); and Intertwined (acrylics and fabric on canvas 116cmX76cm 90cmX 120 cm).

For Akpang, some of his works include those in wood/metal, sculptures, mixed media, art ink and designs. Among such pieces are Sameference III 2020 (8x7ft); Indigenous Modernity 2016 (8x13ft); and Title: Interstice 2018 (4x7ft).

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“The concepts of multiculturalism and identity are taking a new philosophical and ideological shape in the form of a conceptual creolization,” the artists said. “Artists and designers no longer view the universe from a localized or discipline-specific perspective but with a globalized and multidisciplinary lens as cultures/disciplines continue to merge.”

They explained that the exhibition’s theme, ‘Creolization’, is largely based on translations, subtitling and generalized appropriation of existing cultural forms and visual idioms transformed into new realisms, or on the merging of various genres of expression into a new stylistic vision.

Egharavba and Akpang argued that the crux of contemporary expressionism is defined by aesthetic paradigm, noting that today’s art explores the boundaries between cultures and continents, art and design, art and science, as well as the bonds that text and image, form and color, time and space, weave between themselves.

However, the artists saw all the mentioned factors as new phenomenon and a reflection of a contemporary conceptual movement in which artists respond to a new globalized perception, by traversing cultural landscapes and genre specifications saturated with signs to create current pathways between multiple formats of artistic expression.

Excerpts from the artists’ joint statement

“We are entering the era of universal modernism in which the artist becomes a contemporary traveller who passes through different signs and formats, deriving impetus from such passage for his/her artistic gains. This evolution can be seen in the way works are made with new types of forms appearing, made of lines, signs, re-invented leitmotifs and juxtaposition of various cultural visual idioms drawn both in space and time, materializing trajectories rather than destinations.

What this means is that a new creative space has emerged, not bounded by territory, time or cultural restrictions, but one that represents unlimited artistic/creative possibilities.

The exhibition, “Creolization” 2020 presents a visual dialogue around this theoretical premise that the artworld is experiencing the emergence of a Global Modernism through travel, cultural exchange, the examination of history, cultural re-invention and the transgression of genre boundaries as profound evolution in our artistic vision of the world today.

The exhibition promotes cultural hybridism, genre intersection and multiple modes of material experimentation re-invented through painting, sculpture, installation and digital arts, as an expression of this new modernity in the contemporary artworld. The recontextualization of Nsibidi, Adinkra, Uli, Tiv and Tamil traditional graphic systems into leitmotifs for modern art to instigate the rethinking of today’s creative and expressive notions (art and design) is a crucial conceptual and methodological feature propagated in this show.

With its overarching promotion of appropriation, hybridization and visual translation as a creative viewpoint, this two-man show offers a new kind of gaze on contemporary culture, art, aesthetics and identity as a specific globalized perception hinged on trans-national artistic/cultural dialogue, bridging of traditionalism and contemporaneity, art and design, as well as African and Asian cultural idiosyncrasies.

In June, 2014, Egharevba earned her PhD from Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria, after an MFA in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in September, 2001. Since 2015, she has been teaching at Cross River University of Technology, Calabar; Between 2009 and 2012 she was a lecturer at the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Delta State University, Abraka; and was art teacher from January 1997 to November, 1998 at The Greek International School, Iddo, Lagos, Nigeria.

Egharevba ‘s solo art exhibitions till date include “PhD Studio Art Degree Exhibition”, Delta State University, Abraka, June, 15, 2014; “Master of Fine and Applied Arts Degree Exhibition”, University of Nigeria, 15. September, 2001; “A private viewing of paintings for Africa Book Group”, Ikoyi, Lagos, 13. July, 1997; and “Rhapsody in Hues”, Chevron Nig. Ltd, Lekki restaurant Gallery, Lagos.

Among her group shows are “Issues of the Moment”, Female Artist Association; Exhibition/ Conference, October, 2012; “Anya fulu Ugo”, an exhibition in honour of El Anatsui & Obiora Udechukwu, Nnamdi Azikiwe Library, University of Nigeria, NsukkaJune/July 2015; Pledge for Parity, Be Seen Be Heard! Exhibition by Female Artists Association, at Pavilion, Garki, AbujaMarch 2016; and Be Bold for Change: Women Arise, Exhibition by Female Artists Association, Nike Art Gallery. Lekki, LagosMarch 2017.

 Akpang is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Visual Arts and Technology, Cross River University of Technology, CRUTECH. He got his PgCert in Museum and Curatorial Studies from Harvard University(X) USA, 2020PhD Art, Design and Art TheoryUniversity of Bedfordshire Luton, UK2016; and MA Art & DesignUniversity of Bedfordshire Luton, UK, 2011-2012.

Some of his shows include group exhibitions such as Spectacle, Calabar, Nigeria, 2019; and Art Incubator, CalabarConstellation, Calabar, 2018. Among others are solo exhibitions such as Intersticle, 2016; Build, 2014; Framed, 2013; Input-Output, 2012, all in Luton, United Kingdom.

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