Rele Gallery Lagos presents the 2023 edition of It's a wRap featuring works by Marcellina Akpojotor, Tonia Nneji, Chidinma Nnoli, Jessica Soares, Sabrina Coleman-Pinheiro, Iyunola SanyaOlu, Neec Nonso, David Otaru, Ayobami Ogungbe and Ameh Egwuh.
The exhibition delves into the intricate interiority that characterizes sober reflections on endings and the cyclical nature of beginnings. This exhibition mirrors the nuanced and contemplative journey towards closure, inviting viewers to contemplate personal and collective conclusions and the aftermath–the conclusion of one phase emerging as a threshold and marking the inception of another.
The exhibition features works that compellingly position figures–some in a stance of defiant retreat–creating a thought-provoking visual narrative that serves as focal points within the artworks, offering a nuanced exploration of human emotions and responses to endings. Endings, portrayed as reflective moments, unveil the transformative power within farewells and the cycle that continues afterward.
Neec Nonso presents a nuanced examination of ancestral duties and the enduring connections between the living and the dead. Chidinma Nnoli employs the medium of collaging, skillfully intertwining a search for belonging and the memories left of grief to construct a narrative with multiple layers. Ameh Egwuh’s deliberate ambiguity challenges viewers to consider various possibilities, prompting a nuanced exploration of ideas beyond simple dichotomies. Jesssica Soares’ figures are draped in Victorian-era dresses. By referencing these timeless images and fashion choices, the artist prompts viewers to contemplate the timeless and cyclical nature of beauty, intertwining personal memories with broader cultural shifts. Ayobami Ogungbe’s intricately woven photograph strips serve as a visual dialogue with memories, offering a rich portrait of the artist's familial connections. In the contemplative positioning of the three figures backing the observer, as though walking away in David Otaru’s painting, Otaru prompts viewers to reflect on the transient nature of moments and the inevitability of change.
Tonia Nneji's work provides a poignant reflection on the cyclical nature of life, using trauma, female experiences, and commemorative fabrics as lenses to explore themes of transformation. This exploration of fabric as a symbol of memory and identity suggests a cyclical narrative—the constant interplay between tradition and modernity, past, and present. Marcellina Akpokotor’s medium is rooted in the reuse of materials with their own histories, where elements from the past find new meaning and purpose on the canvas. Sabrina Coleman-Pinheiro’s painting opens a window into the internal landscape of emotional turmoil, creating a visual language for the often abstract and intangible nature of mental health challenges. Iyunola SanyaOlu’s approach to the creative process is marked by a balance of intentionality and openness to spontaneity, reflecting a profound understanding of the cyclical nature of artistic and, by extension, life experiences.
The act of creating becomes a metaphor for the broader theme of embracing the ebb and flow of existence, with each creative endeavor offering a unique vantage point into the dynamics of endings and beginnings.
This curated space of It's a wRap serves as a visual ode to the cyclical nature of existence, emphasizing that within every ending lies the seed of a fresh commencement.