Timipre Amah is a Nigerian visual artist and a university teacher whose studio practice is consistent in probing his physical environment and man’s complex labyrinths of existential realities. Amah will be showing his recent studio creations in an online exhibition organized by the Ogirikan Art gallery, Lagos Island, Lagos.
This exhibition addresses the sub-theme referred to by the artist as ” my inner-thinking and appraisal of society”.
Titled, Facets the show comprises 12 oeuvres created along the artist’s long-established artistic technique and style.
My assessment of the work of the Bayelsa State-born graphic artist and photographer is in two strands. One is his interest in the paradox of beauty and destruction, which he explores in his work as a way of contemplating the fortunes of Niger Delta environment as a place in need of healing and rejuvenation.
Photography is the tool which Amah uses to capture beauty and record devastations which he sometimes juxtaposes to make artistic statements. The artist is deeply aware of his environment: “to have lived continuously in the Delta for 35 years has helped me appreciate the vagaries and optimism of the environment, which has become an important part of me,” says Amah. This has given the artist the benefit of the muse to engage in this all-important visual dialogues.”
The second stream of Amah’s visual repertoire is his foray into “capturing man’s deep feelings about life.” In this line of engagement, he strives to capture the not-too-obvious matters of man’s existence. To contextualize his current body of work, which follows this stream, one must appreciate the troubling time it was created.
Although one or two of the works extend back to 2014 and 2016, the majority of the works were created within the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, when almost the whole world came to a standstill. The era was one of gloom and death, a period of loss and unrest, when people became forced to pause and reflect anew the meaning of life.
This period was one of solitude and deep reflection which inspired many artists. Many of the works and titles that make up the theme for this exhibition, were Amah’s reaction to that most uncertain time. Almost everyone that would view these works lived through the pandemic, and I think it will provide a handle for the viewers to make meaning of the artworks.
Amah ruminates on how some elements define his paintings, “the freedom and flexibility inherent in geometric shapes, lines and colours are the building blocks for the creation and engagement of the discourses that are fundamental to my art.”For this artist of uncanny imagination, he deploys his time-honed techniques to transform the elements in his compositions to intricate and striking works of art. Every piece in this show’s collection, except one, is a bundle of geometric shapes that helps the viewers to make deeper sense out of the forms and colours of the composition. Amah’s unique exploration of forms and colours sometimes appears like a visual over-kill, but it is highly engaging because these abstractions elevate his images to a profound realm of expression. Speaking about his technique, Amah gives an exposé on how he manipulates images, “I deploy regulated patterns of triangles and eccentric quadrangles in multiples of different and same sizes. The shapes are analogous, simultaneous and complementary colour assemblages, on the same plane to build distinct and infinite depths of projections and flats,” he says.
He further notes that “my chosen elements and technique are preferred because they help me achieve abstraction, which falls within the boundaries of Philosophy and Psychology. This tasks the mind to embark on deeper quests to appreciate the artist’s work.” This forthcoming show is about x-raying man’s life cycle from birth to death. The Facets exhibition expresses some of the many issues that affect our society, which we pay less attention to, -even when they are salient to our wellbeing as members of a larger community.
The titles that make up the body of work for this exhibition, are divided into three suites namely: Circle of Life, Optimism and Stay Safe. Each series comprises between two to five works. The Optimism suite comprises the following subtitles, Confidence, Future Past, Broken Future, and On Your Own.The Circle of Life suite includes Nest, Hope, Maturity and End of Life, while the Stay Safe suite is Mantled and Sheild. Other pieces independent of the above suites in the Facets collection are Nest, Enchant, and Something Fishy.
Facets, an online exhibition holds on www.artsy.net between June 30th- September 30th.
*Agwu Enekwachi is an artist and art writer living in Abuja.