The Rele Arts Foundation is pleased to announce the 4th edition of the Young Contemporaries initiative. Created in 2016 to provide a critical and engaging platform for a new generation of emerging artistic talent in Nigeria, the program has since its inception provided the enabling environment for young artists to be part of the evolving discourse on cutting-edge artistic practice, art and social activism as well as critical issues that impact the immediate Nigerian/African and global contexts.
For Young Contemporaries 2019, 6 promising young artists working in diverse mediums with varying degrees of skills and techniques have been selected and highlighted as the one’s to watch out for in 2019. The artists explore themes that cut across; History, Heritage, Trauma, and Identity.
Stephen Tayo, 24, will present a series titled “Ibeji” which explores the psychological impact of having to share kinship with and having one’s identity defined by another.
Stephen studied philosophy at the University of Lagos. He captures intimate portraits that reveal the sartorial flair and quiet dignity of his sitters. He is interested in urban style and youth culture.
Tonia Nneji, 26, a painter, in “Six Days of Holding” uses her experience as a female living with PCOS-Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome to express the trauma living with the ordeal which is often hidden beneath superficial layers.
Tonia, from Imo State, Nigeria was born into a line of traditional carvers and masquerade carriers. Following the family tradition of artistry, she graduated with a B.A (Hons) in Visual Arts from the University of Lagos, Nigeria in 2016. Her work is currently moving towards expressionism and is easily identified by her use of bold colors..
Osaze Amasadun, 24, illustrates in “Once Upon A King”, works reminiscent of the ancient Benin Kingdom. He depicts and reinterprets significant events that occurred during the reign of Oba Esigie (1504 - 1550).
Osaze is an artist of creative elasticity whose artistic mediums cut across drawing, painting, illustration and graphic design. Osaze first trained as an architect graduating with a BSc. in Architecture in 2014 and went on to receive a Master's Degree in Environmental Design in 2016, both from the University of Lagos.
Fidelis Joseph, 29, with his abstract paintings introduces “The Spirit of Salkur” as a way of interrogating the metaphysical realm.
Fidelis, from Adamawa state first studied painting and graphics at the Department of Fine and Applied Art at The Federal College of Education Yola where he received an NCE Certificate in 2012. In 2017, he obtained a B.A Fine Arts Degree from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria where he majored in painting.
Osaru Obaseki, 25, a mixed media artist uses a combination of sand and acrylic as a way of synergizing 2 different civilizations – the ancient and the modern to address how the environment affects the human mind and individual personalities.
Osaru, a graduate of University of Port Harcourt is a self-taught visual artist from Edo state. In September 2017, Osaru joined the Nosona studios under the Edo global center platform where she gained the opportunity and resources to experiment with newer techniques and mediums.
Abraham Ogundele, 27, a painter, uses color composed dots to present “A Wonderful Space’: a light hearted journey, reflecting on shared experiences, pop culture and cross generational themes.
Abraham, a self-taught artist was born into a family of creatives and thus art became a natural progression. Graduating with a Bachelors degree in Business Management in 2013 and iMBA degree in Marketing in 2007, both from the Philadelphia University; Abe began to pursue arts professionally in 2014.
The resulting exhibition is an indication of a younger generation contributing their artistic voice to societal issues.