Up-and-coming artist, Sejiro Avoseh, who is currently having his first solo exhibition entitled When We Are Not What We Are at Rele Gallery, Onikan, Lagos, believes his life experiences generally feels everything he creates, together with personal relationships and those of people around him.
The 30 artworks being exhibited include Eden 1& 2, Saviour of the World, The Last Supper, Drive Time, Breaking News, Gone Viral, Searching for Signals, Hooked, Dear Friend 1& 2, Kindred Spirit, My Immortal, among others.
Founder of Rele Gallery and curator of the exhibition, Adenrele Sonariwo, noted the works comprise of four distinct series: Enlightening Series, Physiognomical Distinction, Stay with Me, and the Radio series.
The exhibition’s title is construed as a metaphor that unravels the performative character of human beings as they respond to social and material conditions brought about by modern life and the society one finds oneself.
“However, it also considers Avoseh’s creative approach, the poetics of his forms and the political nature of the various subject matter he addresses in his oeuvre that are not always apparent to the viewer,” said Sonariwo.
For the curator, the various works might be approached as commentaries on human experience and existential conditions centered on contemporary Nigerian society and informed by the artist’s social background and upbringing.
Whereas some of the works treat Biblical subjects as in the enlightening series, others from the “physiognomical Distinction” series address larger questions on cultural stereotypes vis-à-vis human relationships and social interactions.
Other works from the “Stay with me” series explore man’s pursuit of meaning through relationships, while works from the “Radio” series is inspired by the midcentury studio portraits of the late Malian photographer, Seydou Keita, which mirrored how Malians performed modernity. For Avoseh, the radio has deeper meaning. It was the main source of information in the neighbourhood, where he grew up and his work. It acts as a metaphor for community and communication.
The curator added, “Like a bird, Avoseh weaves a nest using various materials and takes us on a journey through his artistic process, his sources of inspiration, and his examination of the human condition.”
When probed further about his style, Avoseh said he used to think the landscape pieces were the best in town until he was exposed and his imagination and knowledge started to broaden. The gallery, especially, pushed him not to confine himself into a box. He began to work on how to develop his own style simply by being sincere and authentic as opposed to trying to impress the audience.
The artist affirmed that women were dominant figures in his work, because his life had been centered on women. He grew up with a single mother, his sister and most of his friends are female and, now that he was married, he was used to women. In sum, Women surround him, and they have grown to become the subject of his art.
Avoseh, a graduate in Painting from Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Lagos, is a conceptual and experimental artist. He is best known for his signature work that fuse together human figures and automobile parts. With strong surreal effects, he creates intricately detailed works rendered with paint and collage materials.