We launched the 'Young Contemporaries' initiative in January 2016. Back then, we selected 5 immensely talented, young artists all under the age of 30 to exhibit their works, and awarded a cash grant to one of the artists. Since the exhibition, these 5 artists have gone on to record significant successes in their respective careers
Believing that the time is nigh for their artistic voice to be amplified and boldly predicting that they will be ones to watch out for and to shake up the art establishment in the nearest feature, we proudly presented these artists anew to the world in an introductory exhibition. The exhibition featured Logor Oluwamuyiwa, Dipo Doherty, Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu, Eloghosa Osunde and Ayobola Kekere-Ekun.
Each one of the artist possesses a unique voice, eye and message and are creating conversational work that addresses urgent, topical issues, showing that contrary to popular opinion, the young (and yes, the artistic ones) show a commitment to engage the space around them and contribute to pressing matters arising.
It is with this in mind that we thought it necessary to select one of the young contemporaries for a grant. The grant provided for the young artist, for a period of one year- the support for services, resources, skills development and equipment to help develop a sustainable career in the arts. The winner of the grant was mixed media artist, Ayobola Kekere-Ekun.
Let us introduce the artists:
Logor Olumuyiwa , 25
In bird’s eye photography, Logor Oluwamuyiwa captures landscapes, the city of Lagos in a way that is still and stark. His characters are unsuspecting passers-by, bridges, road signs… His is a Lagos that is rid of colour and vibrancy and yet possesses a chilling beauty that we may not have seen otherwise. He has been doing this for years and archiving it in a movement titled Monochrome Lagos.
Sequel to his exhibition with Rele, the artist who previously had only shown in group exhibitions and themed narratives, made a memorable solo debut at the News of the World gallery, London. He was selected as part of Future Assembly, an artist development programme for emerging practitioners from the African continent. He showed his Monochrome Lagos archives. He followed this solo feat with another one at one of Lagos’ foremost cultural, retail and lifestyle institutions, Alara as part of their new periodical art showcases and ‘Emerging Artist’ series titled ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’, the exhibition was a conceptual installation of light and photography featuring excerpts from Monochrome Lagos and other works, Logor is the first artist to be shown in the series. He also had an exhibition at the Bozar Art Festival , Belgium titled "DEY YOUR LANE” .He also had a joint show with Richard Ketley at the Call & Response exhibition in Lagos and Johannesburg.
Eloghosa Osunde, 22
In her body of work Eloghosa, who is also a writer – and has been publicly endorsed by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - preoccupies herself with the city but her focus is more on the people on the streets, in the city, and their diverse stories. Her pictures are usually accompanied by stories. She has recently developed a new photograph form: manipulating and distorting her chosen place subject and the people in it in such a startling yet beautiful way.
Eloghosa was recently selected by ‘Invisible Borders’ to participate in their 2016 Trans-Nigerian Project. Invisible Borders is an acclaimed artist-led not-for-profit organization that pools together artists yearly to embark on “road trips across Africa to explore and participate in various photographic events, festival and exhibitions while engaging on a daily basis with the environment and the people encountered.” The organization also seeks to “patch the misconceptions and gaps posed by the frontiers within the 54 countries of Africa” This year however, the initiative has been travelling across Nigeria, with Eloghosa creating a soon-to-be-revealed photo story project while engaging with new and familiar people and environment across the country. The project is to last 45 days across and she will be travelling to every geo-political zone in the country.
She is currently working on her novel and studying at the New York Film Academy in Florence, Italy.
Dipo Doherty, 24
An artist of unapologetic ambition, Doherty stands at the intersection of culture and science with his large-scale paintings. His works are at once arresting, his patterns intricate. I found myself being drawn in, struck with wonder at what could have possibly inspired what was before me. He would later tell me he is inspired by big bangs in his mind, and the reality of breakthroughs in life and in science. He has created a towering series of works that will not only overwhelm but envelope you. You may not complain.
Probably the most contemporary of the group, Doherty’s works have turned in impressive sale numbers sequel to his showcase with the Young Contemporaries exhibition. His works were included in three auctions this year thus far, Arthouse Contemporary Affordable Auction, Sogal Art Auction and Arthouse Contemporary Auction and have sold in the N300,000 – N400,000 range a feat that matches records of older artists, more accomplished in their careers. Doherty was also selected for the Arthouse Contemporary Residency, a months-long incubator that provides the right environment for artist to create. The end result of this residency will be an exhibition.
Ayobola Kekere-Ekun, 22
Medium: Mixed Media
The queen quiller, as she is fondly called by peers uses the abstract, paper to pose a very urgent question to all of us – Why do you use culture as an excuse not to grow, not to look inwards, not to probe uncomfortable topics or situations? Many of those topics, currently tending spring to mind – feminism, rape, misogyny, tribalism, sexuality, gender roles. Culture is consistently used as an excuse to skirt or blatantly ignore these hot topics. This artist says… Never again. Hers is a very unusual medium, even globally. There is a certain kind of patience, discipline that goes into creating the work she does, the kind one usually doesn’t find in a 22 year old! She is arguably the brightest star in the group.
Having identified herself as a career artist, she is currently pursuing a Masters in Creative Arts while working as a Graduate Assistant in the same faculty. Her works have also been shown in leading lifestyle destination, Sao Café and recently at Mydrim Gallery’s inaugural affordable art exhibition,
Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu, 21
Medium: Painting /Illustration /Graphic Design/Mixed Media
A visual storyteller who marries different mediums of artistic expression, sometimes all at once, Ukoha-Kalu is a prodigy becoming. Here she has created a series of drawings and paintings titled ‘All of His Things’ modelled after the life of a fictional character. In the paintings, some colours are a staple - yellow, magenta, and help communicate the character's preferences, in the things he owns. She has created a world of colour, of form, of pattern and vibrancy. You may enter.
Sequel to the Young Contemporaries exhibition, she has been busy entering into a number of workshops and mentoring initiatives, notably Rele’s very own: Mentorship March. She also showed in another major exhibition, ‘The Philosopher’s Muse’ opened by acclaimed artist, Ayoola Gbolahan. She also participated at the live shows at ArtX in November. She is currently completing a degree in Visual Arts from the University of Lagos.
Please, enjoy the video from the opening of the exhibition!