At the beginning of the year while some were still reeling from the daze of Christmas holiday, Rele Art Gallery, opened its first exhibition, “2016 Young Contemporaries” presenting the works of five young Nigerian artists. The event was covered by The Sole Adventurer’s Weekend Contributor, Morountodun Obaigbo. Read below. 

Rele has gained its reputation locally since debuting February last year, but it continues to grow and attract more art lovers especially the young and hip crowd. With its black panelled exterior and stark white rooms, the building itself has a contrast which sets a contemporary tone for the gallery and the things happening inside the space.

Wine glass in-hand, the attendees of this event number up to about a hundred or more, art enthusiasts, bloggers, art directors, photographers in a variety of outfits from casual formal garb to creative get ups. A mix of exhibiton novices and frequent exhibition goers, asking questions, taking pictures and also appreciating the haunting quality distinguishing the somber open air photography of Logor Oluwamuyiwa from the folk like art of Eloghosa Osunde.

There are two entrances to the exhibition hall, both with art on the adjacent walls, one is the monotone impressionist art of Dipo Doherty, and the other the colorful acrylics of Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu. The collection by Yadichinma titled ‘A Man and His Things’ uses an interesting mix palate of red, yellow and blue. The artist herself, tall with wooly black locks was present, and was often seen talking with guests and friends drawn to her work. One is likely to ask, what is the significance of this art? According to her, she tries not to set her art within the boundaries of a story, noting that this collection in particular was an exploration of colours, and how the colours represent the essence of the man. On my mind, this seems to mean that ‘a man’s thing’ often become stained by the essence of his being.

Dipo Doherty on the other hand presented a grotesque distortion of the human form marked by African symbols. He says this is his way of representing all of an individual’s human exsistence in one frame. In a way, it is a sort of a heilogriphic means of documentation. However, what is more interesting is the visual of such a resonate and interesting thought. The general installation subtly indicate comparisons between particular styles of art that fascinates different perceptive visitors. Osunde’s photographic art tells a short folk like tale of ‘Obalende’, which is the story of how Obalende came to be, Obalende meaning: “The King Drove us here”.

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Guest, Denola Grey

The visual density of this exhibition sheds an indirect light on what is setting this gallery apart in the local art scape.  The overall tone of the entire collection was captivating. The exhibition truly adhered to putting together a collection of new contemporary artists that are zesty, energetic and passionate about the ideas they are expressing. These artists are young, vibrant , talented, passionate and they are the new Nigerian contemporary artists to look out for. It is difficult to point out a single collection that stood out over the others.

In all, Rele must have achieved its goal considering the age bracket of the visitors at the exhibition. It was a call to young people to connect with the arts and they turned up.

No sommelier, but the wines tasted delicious. The event was sponsored by Fat Bastard Wines.