All We Ever Wanted

2nd July – 27th August 2011

Otobong Nkanga, Amuche Nnabueze, Adejoke “Wahala Temi” Tugbiyele, Temitayo Ogunbiyi , Odun Orimolade

In her seminal text “The Exhibition as Discursive Event” (1990) Canadian Art Historian Reesa Greenberg asserts that ‘when an exhibition is framed as a discursive event, its success is not as dependent on traditional aesthetic criteria. Judgments of the good, the bad, and the ugly are less applicable. What matters is how much discussion is generated, for how long, in which sectors of society and most importantly to what effect.’ Drawing on these lines of thought, All We Ever Wanted attempts to reflexively engage the concept of the “women’s exhibition,” by inviting several emerging and established women artists to exhibit work on their own terms—in such a way that directly or indirectly eschews conventional ways of thinking about gender oriented exhibition projects.

Conceived as a showcase for multiple possibilities it encompasses a diversity of media including drawing, sculptural installations as well as collage-painting—foregrounding a dynamic and interactive exhibition of work by five Nigerian artists based here and abroad. Taking as its starting point the idea of exhibitions as critical components in the development of theoretical as well as practical knowledge, All We Ever Wanted attempts to provoke dialogue among different yet intertwined practitioners. It attempts to go beyond fixed notions of place and identity or even artistic practice in order to present works at different stages of their production—in-progress, recently completed, or an old work re-purposed. In so doing, the exhibition subtly foregrounds the divergent ways in which the participating artists situate their practices along a variety of political, conceptual and aesthetic trajectories.

Otobong Nkanga presents the blueprint for an upcoming performance-based project that concerns memory and the history architectural landmarks in Lagos. This presentation focuses on the first of a series of landmarks that make up the project. Amuche Nnabueze features a collection of sculptural works that blur the boundary between art and craft developed through her ongoing sculpted basket project, as well as installations that highlight her environmental concerns. Adejoke “Wahala Temi” Tugbiyele features an installation that engages metaphorically with Nigeria’s social and political history. Her work seeks to capture Nigeria’s actions/reactions to changes within the larger global economy.

Odun Orimolade exhibits a series of work in which the drawings represent a journal of her personal reaction to experiences and observations in her environment, while Temitayo Ogunbiyi shows mixed-media collage works which engages her diverse interests including current events, bodily disfigurement as well as contemporary channels of communication from online forums to text messaging.

Few opportunities have existed for intimate and sustained dialogue between local Nigerian artists and those in the Diaspora. Consequently, All We Ever Wanted speaks to this moment, proposing an open perspective and imagining a possible correspondence, one in which the exhibition can be seen as a mediator between here and there.

Curated by Bisi Silva. Co-organised by Jude Anogwih and Antawan I. Byrd. Photographs ©CCA,Lagos.

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