Miffed by intrigues of COVID 19 pandemic two Nigerian contemporary artists, Orlu Prince Ozangeobuoma and Dodd Brown are jointly exhibiting bodies of works that echo various phases of the disease which sequestered the public on a lockdown in different parts of the country.
The artists are featuring via Webinar 21 sets of artworks on COVID 19 at Alexis Galleries, 282, Akin Olugbade street, off Idowu Martins Street, Victoria Island , Lagos. The exhibition opens on Saturday October 10, and runs till October 17, 2020 to adhere to all necessary guidelines by the government on social distancing. The live view will be strictly by registration and links to this effect will be published on the gallery’s social media handles a week before the show: Instagram-alexisgalleries and Facebook-Thehomestores/
With ‘Phases of Reflection,’ as its general theme, the event pledges to be fascinating for both virtual and live viewers. It’s aimed at supporting Child Lifeline, a non for profit organization, which helps children living rough and on the street of Lagos. It also seeks to reconnect them into their family and back into school or vocational training. Part of the exhibition’s proceeds will be donated to the NGO for this course. Sponsorship consideration is provided by some private organizations including; Pespi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, Cobranet UPS, Delta Airline Aina Blankson, and Art Café while Guardian, WAZOBIA and Cool FM Radio stations are the media partners.
In a foretaste of works of the artists with journalists, the curator and founder, Alexis Galleries, Patty Chidiac Mastrogiannis explained, “Dodd Brown creates his painting from different subject matters, life experiences, past and present. He also engages the mind with his works on different levels, and stories on canvas using several media. He is considered more as a mixed media artist because of how he masterly weaves fabrics, newsprints and colour on canvass.”
Orlu Prince Ozangeobuoma’s works, she informs, “is famous for its unique rendition, bold application of colours, and distinct attention to gestures and facial expressions. As different as the artists’ works, styles and strokes are, their mediums generally tend to reflect on human life experiences, self awareness, and evaluation, inimitably presented in its glorious abstracted forms.
“Ozangeobuoma is into heavy pallet. Having understudied Duke Asidere, one can imagine a lot of works and boldness that go under the canvass. Dodd Brown on his part is into fabrics and mixed media: fabrics, newsprints and colours on canvass. We have other artists with similar works but both artists are completely different in their application. We are showcasing to the world what Nigerian artists are able to do about COVID 19. We have so much hidden talented artists with different media, and contributions.”
On the theme, Ozangeobuoma who has his 10 works for this exhibition turned out in oil with one acrylic claimed he was stranded in Enugu for six months during the lockdown. He described the pandemic as a mess even though it aided the boom in his creativity and introduced several issues to brood about it. “What’s going on? Why are we in this box? Why have we been strategized by this new culture? It got to a point that I had no colour and I didn’t go with my studio toolkits. So I was stocked up with painting off the cuff material just to see what I can do to keep my hands and head busy. In fact a whole lot of pondering and thoughts went into the works and theme.”
He noticed that there were plenty of lies in the box. “We are being placed in a box to make us understand that this is where we are supposed to be. They say it is COVID 19 no! It is hunger 19 because we died of hunger 5, 10 and 20 years ago. So, why bring hunger to tell us that this is the hunger; meanwhile, we have lost plenty of people to hunger.
“We hear stories that China is where Coronavirus came from, they say Africa is the point of the whole thing but we have millions of Ethiopians, Asians, Europeans and Americans dying of the pandemic, yet they increase Nigeria’s number of COVID 19 deaths without telling us how it is. For me it is a lie. We are being placed in a box. Yes, I don’t doubt the fact that there is no COVID 19 but I doubt the fact that our government has made it seem we have COVID 19 even more than those who created it.
“However our black skin has a tussle and strength in it. Even the white man cannot get a hold on it. They don’t understand how come we are still in existence; we have not been wiped out by the pandemic. No matter how hard they try, for me it is a box of lies being placed in that box. So, ‘Phases of Reflection,’ is an expression from different dimensions, views and experiences during the lockdown.”
Dodd Brown has a forte for different media. For him the expo looks at the year with reference to Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic, its consequences on people being locked indoors, denying them rights of movement and engaging in activities they are used to, which are no longer top in their programmes. He said, “My 11 works are fresh-to-the-market. It is spurred and produced during COVID 19 lockdown. One of them is titled ‘Tranquility.’ It has a subtheme ‘In Acadia we wait,’ meaning in silence we’re waiting to see the outcome of this pandemic, and what will happen after that.”