The Kokopelli Gallery, a subsidiary of Kokopelli NG, an organisation that specialises in Arts and Aesthetics. is thrilled to announce its inaugural art exhibition, A Roomful of Stories, featuring works by 15 Nigerian contemporary artists and curated by Kennii Ekundayo, opening September 12, 2021.
A Roomful of Stories is the vision of the gallery’s founder/director, artist Dare Herald, whose primary goal in the establishment of the gallery is to reflect the “intangible essence of storytelling” according to him, hence the rationale behind the thematic inclination of its inaugural show. In his words, “Every artwork mounted within The Kokopelli Gallery walls shall be imbued with narrative elements enough to encourage the creative imagination of the onlooker.”
The exhibition brings together 15 closely acquainted artists with parallel professional experiences whose exhibits, some appearing in singles and others, seried, yield to the artists’ anomalous positions as storytellers of their time. It sees a potpourri of various art forms — drawing, painting, sculpture and digital art — whose individual stylistic features and combined visual characteristics challenge the structure of regular art engagement whilst exploring at the same time, the materiality defining the methodical substance of each work.
These artists include Ademuyiwa Ladega, Akintomide Aluko, Bolaji Ogunwo, Damola Adepoju, David Joseph, Donna Duke, Dotun Makun, Funke Oladimeji, Greg Onyeka, Ibrahim Bamidele, Kelly Omodamwen, Kel Savage, Olajide Salako, Osifeso Ezekiel, Suraj Adekola.
The assembled exhibits are recounts that revolve around evocative subjects such as the lot of child brides as seen in the Betrothal series by Aluko and Oladimeji’s portrait of the forgotten seen in Ashabi, her sole memento of a deceased ally; Omodamwen’s Ovbialeke, Salako’s Dambe series and Savage’s Hall of Masks chronicle the artists’ keen likemindedness to valorise their native heritage while Adepoju in his piece, For How Long? satirises the political gambits that have derided the education sector of the country through his reflection on the plight of the schoolgirl, Oreoluwa.
It goes to show that even when the artist is not actively sharing stories steeply associated with her/his person or experiences, s/he still serves as a conduit through which the story of another is shared.
Visitors to the exhibition will find themselves mostly hypnotised by the rhythmic, colourful patterns of mask-like motifs represented in various colour schemes in the Faces and Phases series by Onyeka; or trying to decipher the third-person narrative form of Ogunwo whose works share a common identifier — thickly layered vibrant paint strokes.
The world has not necessarily viewed the visual arts as an independent form of storytelling — as seen in the case of oral, written and digital mediums — only alluding to it within its illustrative capacity. A Roomful of Stories strongly acknowledges and posits visual arts as an age-long and independent medium of storytelling seeing its use of elements and techniques commonly applied in the other forms.
The exhibition opening will be preceded by a two-day exclusive private viewing for the gallery’s patrons with a canapé event hosted by the renowned Chef Fregz.