Temple Muse kickstarts its 2017 art season with an exhibition of paintings and a mixed media installation created by two multi-ethnic contemporary artists, Raoul Olawale da Silva, Painter, Musician and Athlete, and Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Visual Artist and Performer.
Titled Expansion of Time, the exhibition investigates the concept of time, history, connections, improvisational flow and works that are largely influenced by the natural world.
Da Silva and Ogunji draw from a rich and diverse ethnic lineage to project their creative voices from the boundless and often chaotic energy that keeps expanding against the push of modernity. Ogunji expresses her African ancestry in hand-stitched drawings made in architectural trace paper. She uses strong cultural iconography inserted into modern conversations and spaces, connecting past and present. The iconic sculpture ‘Ife head’ features frequently in her work.
Ogunji’s expression is precise and meticulous, featuring clean lines and intended negative space. There is a philosophical inspiration behind her work that is hard to miss. In a piece titled Follow the Sun, she portrays a human head from which lines flow – akin to the rays of the sun. Describing the work, Ogunji points at the man as his own sun – his centre – from which thoughts and ideas and energy flow. Similar elements are recurrent in Ife and Orchids where she weaves together cultural and modern iconography using the Ife head and lotus flowers.
In contrast to Ogunji’s precise and pristine lines, Da Silva’s abstract paintings are made with large, bold, improvisational strokes which he describes as a conscious abandonment of intuition. He attempts to defy the passage of time by depicting flashes from memories and dreams on canvas, paper and skateboards. His large paintings on repurposed art posters and eclectic installation of worn out skateboards are his way of giving new life to things that would otherwise have come to the end of their time.
“Expansion of Time tells their story from the outside looking in; two creative souls exploring, seeking, sometimes even battling to come to terms with cultural anomalies and political incongruity – always attempting to rise above the clutter, constant hum, noise and over-saturated “Eko-for-Show”. Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, Curator and Director of SMO Contemporary Art, states in her curatorial introduction to the exhibition.
Both artists’ works appear to invite us on a journey through time as we draw connections between consciousness and dream-like levitation. We are beckoned by Wura’s colourful projections and teased by Raoul’s exploration with paint, coffee and sand expressing reflective discernment.
The exhibition sponsored by UBS, the Swiss international bank and luxury house Moet Hennessey, opens on Saturday 25 February and runs until 28 April 2017 at Temple Muse, Victoria Island, Lagos.