Exhibition by: Kelani Abass, Taiye Idahor and Abraham Oghobase
‘Ori Meta odun meta ibi kan’ features the process of works in progress by three Nigerian artists- Kelani Abass, Taiye Idahor and Abraham Oghobase- who work across three different media and undertook residencies over a three year period (2013- 2015) in the same place at the Salzburg Summer Academy f Fine Arts, Austria.
“Orí Méta Odún Méta Ibìkan” 2016 Exhibition Curatorial Statement
19th June- 24th July, 2016
“Orí méta odún méta ibìkan” features the process of works in progress by three Nigerian artists – Kelani Abass, Taiye Idahor and Abraham Oghobase – who work across three different media and undertook residencies over a three year period (2013-2015) in the same place at the Salzburg Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Austria.
The project began in 2012 when I was invited to give a talk on the panel during their Post Studio conference. I used the opportunity to take one of their courses on Curatorial Practice led by Swedish curator Maria Lind. This extended stay led to conversations with director Hildegund Amanshauser on involving more emerging artists from Africa in the programme focusing on Nigeria. This led to the collaboration between CCA, Lagos and the Summer Academy.
“Orí méta odún méta ibìkan” is an opportunity to present within a gallery space the artists’ continuing process of developing their practice since the residency. It also offers the public a discursive platform to engage the mutability of studio practice, the impact of international residencies on the local art sector as well as the benefits and at times the disadvantages of residencies.
For Kelani Abass, this opportunity to travel to Europe for the first time, to engage another country and culture was a strong motivation as was his chosen course “Painting the Cliché”. Known locally as a painter’s painter, he was fascinated with stretching the possibilities of painting. His objective was not to produce new work but to explore new ways of seeing, of learning and painting. Kelani took two things with him to Salzburg; a stamping machine and a local Ankara cloth. He found the strong art historical context through the reading and analysing texts about painting stimulating coupled with the visits to the museums. The biggest impression on him was the omnipresence of Mozart through monuments, street names, on chocolate bars, public square, and everything possible. Responding to this obsessive focus on Mozart especially as his birthday approached led him to thinking about time (a thematic focus that is to be found in Abass’ work over the years) and about numbers. This resulted in him putting his stamp at 0 and stamping 1,756 (year of Mozart’s birth) times to create a portrait of the iconic Mozart. On the same paper he added a collage of other material that feature the portrait of Mozart. This was the first work of ‘stamping’ he created.
“Orí méta odún méta ibìkan” consider the residency as an extension of the artist’s studio, a space of experimentation, of errors and counter errors, as moments of freedom and possibilities. This presentation by Kelani Abass, Taiye Idahor and Abraham Ogbohase attempts to engage and challenge the supremacy of the finished work by laying out the process, the turns and returns as they search for new directions and meaning.
This collaboration with Salzburg summer academy of Fine Arts continues, extended to mainly former participants of the CCA, Lagos international art school programme Asiko. In 2016 the opportunity is extended to Asiko 2015 Maputo alumni Zambian artist Mulenga J. Mulenga.
Kelani Abass (b. 1979) studied at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, graduating in painting with distinction. Kelani has won several awards and prizes including 1st prize in painting of the Caterina De Medici/3rd Black Heritage Prize (2010). Recent solo exhibitions include ‘Aso-Igba’ Art clip Africa, Lagos (2016); ‘Asiko’ Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (2013); ‘Man and Machine’ Omenka Gallery, Lagos (2011) and ‘Paradigm Shift’ Mydrim Gallery, Lagos (2009).
Taiye Idahor grew up in Lagos Nigeria, she studied Fine Art (sculpture) at Yaba College of technology Lagos Nigeria. She has participated in a number of exhibitions and workshops both home and abroad to including Dubai Art Fair, Marker 2013; her first solo exhibition ‘Hairvolution’ in Lagos Nigeria 2014 and Timeline a residency exhibition in Johannesburg South Africa 2015.
Abraham Onoriode Oghobase was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1979. He studied at the Yaba College of Technology’s School of Art, Design and Printing in Lagos, majoring in photography. His photography has been exhibited in Nigeria and across Africa and Europe. He was longlisted for the 2013 edition of the AIMIA-AGO Photography Prize and was a finalist in 2014 for the prestigious Prix Pictet global award in photography and sustainability.