By Henry Akubuiro
The effect of perennial socio-economic challenges on people’s mental health has drawn the attention of recycled media artist, John Ogbeta. The artist, in his solo art exhibition entitled Hysteria, showing from tomorrow, September 11 – September 25, 2021, at Signature Beyond Art Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos, applies his mastery of combined jute, rope, fabric on board to bring art into the net of mental care.
Ogbeta’s style is known for its expressive quality and decorative patterns. His works elevates the formal status of painting by combining various elements like jute, rope, plastic, coloured fabrics, foil and other found objects.
Signature Beyond, while expressing its excitement to exhibit Hysteria by Ogbeta, said, “John is a mixed media artist that uses recycled objects (jute, rope, fabric) for his works on board. He is an internationally renowned artist and has featured in a number of group exhibitions.”
Hysteria, Signature Beyond explained, “focuses on mental health and the effect of managing the challenges caused by socio-economic and socio-political imbalances with each work depicting the power of art.”
Some of the mixed media on plywood works for the exhibition include Tamed 116 X 178cm, 2020; Subtle Gender, 116 X 178cm 2020; In The Face Of Adversities 116 X 178cm, 2020; and Unbroken, 120 X 183cm, 2020.
In his Introduction for the catalogue of Hysteria, Joe Essien, a colleague of Ogbeta, said the artist “strives to express via the use of repurposed materials and colours, basically to express the socio-economic existence of the Nigerian — reflecting the resilient strength and hope in their attitudes, even in the face of grinding poverty and hardships.”
Essien said the title of the exhibition “points to the state of the Nigerian existence cum the leadership processes where a small group of people have seized the mantle to rule over several years without noticeable improvements in the standard of living of the citizenry.”
As worrisome as the political balance persists, Ogbeta’s focus for the exhibition is on the plight of the people and not the politicians, Essien explained.
“It is, however, not his intention to dwell on the political, but his purpose is to highlight the pervading mood of a troubled hope which is prevalent in the psyche of most Nigerians by his use and manipulation of found materials and colours, not forgetting the fact that he’s a graduate of the renowned colourists school of Auchi polytechnic.”
Essien explained further, “In his paintings, his palette is refreshing, ranging from cool to warm, and bright where appropriate. There is a feeling of tranquil submission in some of the postures of the forms and figures depicting submission to forces that can’t be fought but with a prevailing sense of angst in the air.”
John has featured in a number of group exhibitions and international shows. His works can be found in major collections in West Africa, Europe, Australia and North America. He currently lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria as a full time studio artist.