By Henry Akubuiro
Egharevba and Clem Akpang FRSA have successfully concluded their art exhibition, Creolisation, a visual perspective to the impact of a new world in technology and travel, among other global changes.
Declared open by Brig. Gen. Anthony Ukpo (Rtd), former Governor of Rivers State and
former Minister of Arts and Culture, the exhibition, which took place at Calabar Sports Club, from April 12-18, 2021, will be showing in Lagos and Abuja, June and July at later dates to be announced.
During the exhibition, Egharevba and Akpang noted that the artworld was currently reconfigured along globalisation, with travel, migration, increased communication, technological advancement and cross-cultural meta-influences,
all affecting how artists live and produce art.
Paintings, mixed media, installation dated 2020 were pieces exhibited by Egharevba during the opening. Among her works on display were: lVisual Momentum (fabric, lolly sticks and acrylics on canvas 145cmX102cm; Feminine Perspectives (acrylics and Fabrics on canvas, 150cmX210cm); and Intertwined (acrylics and fabric on canvas 116cmX76cm 90cmX 120 cm).
For Akpang some of his works included those in wood/metal, sculptures, mixed media, art ink and designs. Among such pieces are Sameference III 2020 (8x7ft); Indigenous Modernity 2016 (8x13ft); and Title: Interstice 2018 (4x7ft).
“The concepts of multiculturalism and identity are taking a new philosophical and ideological shape in the form of a conceptual creolisation,” the artists stated. “Artists and designers no longer view the universe from a localised or discipline-specific perspective but with a globalised and multidisciplinary lens as
cultures/disciplines continue to merge.” They explained that the exhibition’s theme was largely based on translations, subtitling and generalised appropriation of existing cultural forms and visual idioms transformed into new realisms, or on the merging of various genres of expression into a new stylistic vision.
Egharevba and Akpang argued that the crux of contemporary expressionism was defined by aesthetic paradigm, noting that today’s art explore the boundaries between cultures and continents, art and design, art and science, as well as the bonds that text and image, form and color, time and space, weave between themselves.
However, the artists saw all the mentioned factors as new
phenomenon and a reflection of a contemporary conceptual movement in which artists respond to a new globalised perception, by traversing cultural landscapes and genre specifications saturated with
signs, to create current pathways between multiple formats of artistic no expression.
The artists said in a joint statement: “We are entering the era of universal modernism in which the artist becomes a contemporary traveller who passes through different signs and formats, deriving impetus from such passage for his/her artistic gains. This evolution can be seen in the way works are made with new types of forms appearing, made of lines, signs, re-invented leitmotifs and juxtaposition of various cultural visual idioms, drawn both in space and time, materialising trajectories rather than destinations. What this means is that a new creative space has emerged not bounded by territory, time or cultural restrictions, but one that represents unlimited artistic/creative possibilities.
“Creolisation 2020 presents a visual dialogue around this theoretical premise that the artworld is experiencing the emergence of a Global Modernism through travel, cultural exchange, the examination of history, cultural re-invention and the transgression of genre boundaries as profound evolution in our artistic vision of the world today. The exhibition promotes cultural hybridism, genre intersection and multiple modes of material experimentation re-invented through painting, sculpture, installation and digital arts, as an expression of this new modernity in the contemporary artworld. The recontestualisation of Nsibidi, Adinkra, Uli, Tiv and Tamil traditional graphic systems into leitmotifs for modern art to instigate the rethinking of today’s creative and expressive notions (art and design) is a crucial conceptual and methodological feature propagated in this show.”