By Damiete Braide
Art lovers who visited Kokopelli Gallery located at No 1, Bunmi Olowude Street, Oniru, Lekki Phase One, had a different experience from what they were used to. Rather than see physical artworks adorn the walls, they saw Quick Response codes (QR codes, a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone).
The three-day exhibition with the theme, “Two Brothers and one Lumbo”, had 10 contemporary artists exhibit 30 artworks in various media. The exhibiting artists included Olubankole Olabode, Abrifor Drexx Silas, Bidemi Tata, Hossein Quadri, Ibukun Williams, Ice Nweke, Osafuwenko Tunde-Oni, Alvin Ukpeh, Seyi Ogar and Iloabuchi Netochukwu.
Dare Herald, Director, Kokopelli Gallery, in his welcome address, said the idea was to change the traditional gallery setting using QR codes, “In this case, they use their phones to scan the codes, and it engages them more, and they read details about the artworks. By scanning and engaging the QR codes, we have engaged the people more with what they see.”
Dare said the new method would encourage more galleries to exhibit this way and give them an idea of what it was to be in the digital world.
The body of the artworks, he said, “tell the Nigerian story, that is, the socio-political situation with the title, ‘Two Brothers and one Lumbo’. In the past, it has always been two brothers contesting for the presidential election, but this time around, there are three contestants, and it is such an interesting theory, because there is an extra option.”
John Dada, Chief Executive Officer, Creath, added, “The idea of this exhibition is to have artworks from the artists and convert them to Non-Fungible Token (NFT) in the blockchain technology. It is a centralised system, and people will see what is happening, which cannot be changed or edited. NFT adds real value to the real arts and the artists, and it is the whole idea of the artists to create an economy. Before now, when you attend exhibitions, you would see artworks on the wall, but, in this exhibition, this is the first time it will be used in Nigeria, and we made use of the Quick Response, QR Codes, and the exhibition has been a success.”
Seyi Ogar, one of the artists, said, “In one of my works, ‘Heads in the cloud’, I used people’s heads in clouds around them. The work depicts how society looks at how people try to chase their dreams or do something different in their society. They make a change in their institutions or various aspects of life, and they are the people that we look up to, and when they become successful at some points in their life, they will see that they chased their dreams or did something positively to make a change.”