Rele Gallery is pleased to present the second solo exhibition and first in the United States of Marcellina Akpojotor titled Daughters of Esan: The Alpha Generation. The works presented here are rooted in ideas of affection and the familial, engaging notions of lineage and legacy. Building upon the artist’s previous explorations of her maternal bloodline across generations, this exhibition focuses on her daughter, presenting us with scenes of intimacy and family life.
Presenting familiar and idyllic scenes, Akpojotor takes the viewer on a journey through parenthood. A journey that leaps across time, documenting intimate lives in stages. Here, she creates vivid compositions focused on capturing the immediacy of a moment, engaged simultaneously in the act of creating and archiving memories.
The works in the exhibition also dialogue with genealogy, being part of a larger exploration of Akpojotor’s matriarchal lineage. Situated against her great-grandmother’s radical vision for literacy and the subsequent realisation of this vision in varying degrees among later generations, the paintings feature scenes of study and tutoring, echoing the artist’s own fascination with education as a tool for liberation and empowerment.
Done in her signature mix of fabric collage and painting, Daughters of Esan: The Alpha Generation feature densely-layered and intricately detailed characters shown in composition against flat, brightly coloured backgrounds. The idea of the familial space here is one rooted deeply in acts of companionship; A daughter braiding her aunty’s hair, a father riding a bicycle with his daughter. These moments become a way for the artist to relish the proximity that childhood offers as well as a means to record the passing of time.
In Daughters of Esan: The Alpha Generation, Akpojotor draws from the domestic, creating snapshots of daily life: from acts of play to scenes of study, support and intimacy. These moments, seemingly frozen in time, allow the viewer a glance into private spaces, weaving narratives of childhood and growth.