Ayobami Ogungbe: Home: Lagos

Rele Gallery Lagos is pleased to present Home, the debut solo exhibition of Nigerian artist and photographer Ayobami Ogungbe. Forming the first part of a dual presentation that explores the artist’s experience of spaces he’s lived in, Home draws on Ogungbe’s past and current relationship with the spaces and bodies he grew up with as a child.

Typically viewed as a space where personal identity is forged and memories are created and retained, the notion of home can provide comfort and a source of yearning – a place where we can anchor our sense of self in relation to the world. However, the understanding of home can also be complex, uncertain, or even distressing for many. Intrinsically linked to the physical and emotional landscapes it encompasses, the home can foster intimate and sometimes conflicted relationships between the bodies and environments that inhabit it.

Featuring intricately woven photograph strips, the exhibition enters into a dialogue with the enduring echoes of the past, offering a rich and layered portrait of the artist's evolving relationship with his family. Having been away for a while, except for the occasional visits, Ogungbe revisits his memories of home from a slightly removed yet personal present perspective. Through this reflection, he considers how his sense of self was shaped by the setting of his upbringing and the memories and experiences associated with it.

The works in this exhibition engage personal experiences of home beyond nostalgic longings and a romanticized ideal. They draw from intimate, nuanced moments — from memories of a winding dirt path to a physical altercation with a sibling — in teasing out multiple states and positions of ‘bodies at home’.  Home is imagined as a place of rest, comfort and order, an imagined embrace between brothers. It is also imagined as a state of waiting and drowning, of overwhelming responsibilities and aloneness. 

In exploring the varying textures, motifs and forms of home, Ogungbe moves between interior and exterior scenes, locating the familial between the dark corners of a room and the expanse of the sea. By scrutinizing the relationship between bodies and landscapes, his pieces encourage reflection on the ways home shapes our sense of self and our connections to others. This exhibition invites us to observe and consider the many expressions and possibilities of the idea of home.