Rele Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of recent works from Tonia Nneji for Art Dubai 2022. Drawing from personal experiences with religious institutions in her search for alternative treatment, Nneji's presented body of work examines the ways in which these institutions contribute to the policing of women's bodies and expressions through forced modesty and shame culture. The series draws from a period of vulnerability in the artist's life in questioning a culture of purity and arbitrary judgment that precludes access to religious spaces.
Conflating the sacred with the sensual, Nneji's work explores the role of the church in enforcing a system of moral policing and exclusion against women - especially during moments of vulnerability - in contemporary Nigerian societies. Forming a part of her continued exploration of fabrics and women's bodies, the works here consider the intimate and social relationship between both as well as challenging and subverting existing narratives on access and religious moralism.