Making Face: Lagos

Rele Gallery Lagos is pleased to present Making Face, a group exhibition featuring works by Kainebi Osahenye, Alimi Adewale, Bolaji Ogunrosoye, Soji Adesina, Plantation (Ayomide Tejuoso) and Jimi Agboola. The exhibition presents a range of perspectives across media and stylistic focus on portraiture and figuration, offering shifting considerations on ‘face’.

Over the centuries, amidst a culture of looking and being seen, the human form has served as subject to varied forms of representation and identification. In exploring the social roles and identities of individuals and groups, the body has been quietly observed and meticulously staged, constantly situated against changing backdrops and evolving contexts. From the painted portrait to photography, video and other new media forms, artists have employed various viewpoints — from the singular to the layered — in exploring likeness. In modern times, amidst growing globalisation and the Internet era, it has become increasingly difficult to understand or define the individual or collective from the singularity of a viewpoint.


John Berger’s assertion that ‘we can no longer accept that the identity of a man can be adequately established by preserving and fixing what he looks like from a single viewpoint in one place’ forms an important point of departure for Making Face.


Engaging loosely with the art of portraiture, Making Face imagines acts of representation and terms of recognition of the image. The image here is both static and evolving, a constantly moving bricolage of experiences and landscapes. The consideration of diverse elements, stories and forms that make up the human experience is at the core of the exhibition premise. It asks, how do we create portraits of complex lives situated against a shrinking and dynamic landscape? From layered explorations of the relationship between the city and the individual to intimate explorations of pleasure, the exhibition is concerned with representations of beingness and becoming.


Making Face is also focused on exploring the relationship between the main image and areas of interstice. How does the peripheral influence our understanding of the main subject? If everything around an image is part of its meaning, how do we engage the ‘around’ in contemplating meaning? What new meanings can be generated from a reading of the margins?

In its consideration of expressions of being, the exhibition explores representations of ‘face’, notions of presence and absence as well as the politics of looking.