Art Twenty One is pleased to announce its participation at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London, October 15-18, 2015, Booth G18 West, featuring artists Olu Amoda, Namsa Leuba, Demola Ogunajo, and Paa Joe/Jacob-Tetteh Ashong.
Olu Amoda (Nigeria, b. 1959) has worked consistently over the past three decades as a sculptor, muralist, furniture designer, and multimedia artist. Amoda is best known for using repurposed materials found from the detritus of consumer culture. His works often incorporate rusty nails, metal plates, bolts, pipes and rods, that are welded together to create figures, animals, flora and ambiguous forms. Amoda uses these materials to explore socio-political issues relating to Nigerian culture today, including gender, privacy, consumerism and economic distribution. His seminal body of work, Sunflower, explores the connection between mass industry and the organic, winning top prize at the DAK’ART Biennale in Dakar, Senegal in 2014.
Namsa Leuba (Switzerland/Guinea, b. 1982) examines the representation of African identity through the Western imagination. Spanning documentary, fashion and performance, Namsa Leuba creates a visual imaginary that explores the signs and symbols of her cultural heritage, from rituals and ceremonies to statuettes and masquerades. Whether executed on location in the artist’s ancestral hometown of Guinea or in the constructed studio environment, Leuba’s projects combine a pseudo-anthropological interest in traditional customs with an aesthetic that is informed by fashion and design sensibilities. Adopting a theatrical approach with careful attention to props, colours and gestures, Namsa Leuba questions the relationship between fact and fiction, action and representation, and the sacred and the profane.
Demola Ogunajo (Nigeria, b. 1973) is a painter and conceptual artist who is best known for blending a pop-art aesthetic with an interest in graphic design and illustration. In his works on canvas, Ogunajo references mythical characters and ambiguous narratives in a cartoonish and playful manner. With a variety of fantastical elements ranging from angels, creatures, and clowns to barber shop profiles and urban fashion, Ogunajo inserts a spectacular twist to the routine
aspects of daily life. Ogunajo’s paintings create an iconic world of characters and symbols that explore the philosophical complexities of modern life.
Paa Joe/Jacob Tetteh-Ashong (Ghana, b. 1947/1988) create figurative coffins in the shape of spectacular objects and forms. Following a tradition of burial rituals and artistic crafts in Ghana, the fantasy coffins are modeled after consumer objects such as cars, sneakers and cameras, as well as animals such as lions, fish, eagles and chickens. These coffins represent the aspirations and values of their intended users, and they speak to the individual’s personality and visions of the afterlife. Paa Joe, considered one of the most important Ghanian coffin makers of his generation, now works collaboratively with his son, Jacob Tetteh-Ashong, who follows in the family tradition of coffin-making.
This year, Art Twenty One has included all four artists in exhibitions at its gallery in Lagos. Olu Amoda’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, Fringe, was held at Art Twenty One in March 2015. Namsa Leuba, Demola Ogunajo, and Paa Joe/Jacob Tetteh-Ashong were included in the group exhibition, Elsewhere, in July-September 2015. In addition, Namsa Leuba, Paa Joe, and Jacob-Tetteh Ashong participated in Art Twenty One’s Artist-in-Residence programme this year as they undertook new artistic projects in Lagos.
Art Twenty One is a 600 sqm space and platform dedicated to contemporary art in Lagos, Nigeria. Located at the Eko Hotels & Suites in Victoria Island, Art Twenty One is intended to contribute to and solidify the growing art scene in Lagos, as well as position the city as a major force in the international art world. An unprecedented and unique set up in Lagos, the space is designed to make art accessible to a large and growing audience who will be able to engage with a rich and diverse range of contemporary art, cultural practice, and educational art programs.
For more information, please contact Art Twenty One at [email protected].