Nigerian Breweries Plc and African Artists’ Foundation (AAF) present the Grand Finale of the sixth annual National Art Competition themed ‘IDENTITY: Who Do You Think You Are?’
FEATURING WORKS FROM:
Halima Abubakar & Zemaye Okediji / Karimah Ashadu / Alayande Ayanwale Chidinma Chinke / Chioma Mary Edoga / Chuka Ejorh & Olamide Udo-Udoma Taiye Idahor / Felicia Tochukwu Okpara /Erasmus Onyishi / Olanrewaju Tejuoso Sesu Tilley-Gyado / Victoria Udondian
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Winning with Nigeria
Grand Finale Programme
Introductions Welcome and overview of NAC by AAF Representatives A retrospective interview of previous winners 2013 Retreat Video Remark by Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc Presentation of certificates to 2013 National Art Competition finalists Prize Presentation to winners Refreshments
AN ADDRESS BY MR. NICOLAAS VERVELDE, MANAGING DIRECTOR/CEO, NIGERIAN BREWERIES Plc. AT THE FINAL EXHIBITION OF THE 6TH ANNUAL NATIONAL ART COMPETITION ON 29TH NOVEMBER 2013
istinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I welcome you to the final exhibition of the sixth National Art Competition. Today we unveil yet another set of winners for the Nigerian creative community through this competition, which has aided in no small way to empower our visual artists. This competition, organized by the African Artistsâ€™ Foundation and sponsored by Nigerian Breweries Plc., is part of a broad spectrum of initiatives geared towards our companyâ€™s vision of Winning with Nigeria. This can be observed through our support for education, water and health across the country. In the past three years, Nigerian Breweries has built and renovated classrooms, libraries and donated books to over twenty schools across Nigeria. In the same period, we have created, funded, constructed and donated boreholes in several communities in addition to a number of health sector interventions carried out through the Heineken Africa Foundation. Our Youth Empowerment and Talent Development programmes which include the Creative Writing Workshop, the Gulder Ultimate Search reality show and the Golden Pen Awards amongst others, also enhance creativity. Our company remains committed to championing causes that would continually add value to the Nigerian society, part of which is the development of arts because of its role in strengthening cultural values in society. The sponsorship of National Art Competition is, thus, a demonstration of our commitment to encouraging and promoting the development of the arts and artists in Nigeria.
The National Art Competition is a competition which aims to promote the development of contemporary Nigerian art and raise awareness of social issues through the use of creative artistic expression. This year, we received about a hundred and sixty strong, conceptually sophisticated entries, proposing a variety of artistic interpretation to the theme â€œIDENTITY: Who Do You Think You Are?â€? This eclectic theme explores how artists view the relationship between individual and collective identity in Nigeria today and examines the role of art as a vehicle for social change. Our company is delighted to have been sponsors of this initiative over the last six years. I commend the African Artistsâ€™ Foundation on their professionalism in organizing this competition and I also thank the facilitators and judges led by Professor El Anatsui for their hard work. For our finalists: congratulations for being amongst the last twelve standing. I truly hope that your skills have been enhanced by your participation in this programme. I wish all of you tremendous success in your artistic careers hereafter. For those artists that do not win today, I encourage them to be grateful for the skills they have acquired through this competition. For the subsequent winners, I say congratulations in advance for being the best of a very talented group. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming and I encourage you to patronize these talented artistes and their works. Please enjoy the rest of the evening. Nicolaas A. Vervelde Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Nigerian Breweries Plc.
Nigerian Breweries and African Artists’ Foundation are proud to present the sixth edition of the National Art Competition (NAC), themed “Identity: Who Do You Think You Are?” The National Art Competition is an annual programme that aims to promote the conceptual development of contemporary art in Nigeria, with the mission of raising awareness on relevant social issues through the use of creative artistic expression. The National Art Competition showcases emerging talent in such diverse mediums as: painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media, installation, and video art. In the past six years, the National Art Competition has cemented itself as a leading platform for the development of the next generation of contemporary artists in Nigeria, and has led to the launch of successful careers for Nigerian artists both locally and internationally. With a focus on the processes of artistic creation rather than solely the end product, each year artists are asked to submit a proposal for an unrealised work based on an annual theme. After hundreds of entries, twelve finalists are chosen to take part in an artist retreat, where workshops by leading arts professionals allow finalists the opportunity to flesh out the conceptual threads of their proposals. Finalists are chosen by world renowned artist Professor El Anatsui, who serves as the head of the artist selection committee at NAC. Finalists are then given a stipend for the production of their projects, culminating in an exhibition and judging ceremony. Each year, as the scope of the National Art Competition expands and reaches a larger audience, the quality of work evolves: a testament to the success of the NAC’s overall mission. Every year, the National Art Competition has been organised around a central theme that directs the artists’ work in relation to relevant social and political currents in Nigeria. The first annual National Art Competition was titled “The Unbreakable Nigerian Spirit,” where ten artists emerged and were each given the opportunity to exhibit their work in Lagos, Abuja, and Amsterdam. The second edition, under the theme “Nigeria - The Future I See,” was open to emerging artists under thirty and restricted to the medium specific genres of painting, photography, new media, and sculpture. The 2010 edition coincided with Nigeria’s 50th anniversary with the theme “Chronicles of a Great Nation at 50”. In 2011, the competition was entitled “Documenting Changes in Our Nation” and included the first annual artist retreat at Abraka Resort, Delta State. The National Art Competition 2012 was themed “Consequences”, where artists interpreted the theme by examining social and political issues relating to topics such as overpopulation, consumption, environmental challenges, brain drain, social media, and ethnic diversity. NAC 2012 included a weeklong artist retreat held in Lagos, with a renewed focus on the conceptual development of projects rather than prioritising studio practice during the retreat. Each year, the competition has grown and the prize-winning stakes have been raised higher. As the competition continues to evolve, so does the rigor of the artists’ work.
The twelve finalists have chosen to explore the interpretation of the theme of identity through a variety of mixed media and installation practices. While previous National Art Competitions engaged a medium-specific approach to selection criteria, this year we wish to embrace a hybridity of artistic disciplines and forms, one that places primary focus on the conceptual underpinnings of their artistic projects. Gabriel Ayanwale Alayande explores the dynamics of ethnic, regional, and local identities in the face of a more unified national consciousness. Artists such as Karimah Ashadu and the artist duo Chuka Ejorh and Olamide Udo-Udoma examine migration, cultural pluralism, and identity in the diaspora through video documentary. Chidinma Nnorom Chinke and Taiye Idahor investigate how the self is defined through a post-modern embrace of identity, consumerism, and advertising. Sesu Tilley-Gyado focuses on identity in the information age through references to telecommunications, billboards, and virtual connectivity. Felicia Tochukwu Okpara, Victoria Samuel Udondian, and Tejuoso Olanrewaju explore market industries to speak about the rich cultural diversity of Nigeria, as well as the foreign influences that come to dominate cultural values, whether through textiles or vernacular commercial products. Other finalists, such as Chioma Mary Edoga, Erasmus Onyishi, and the artist duo Halima Abubakar and Zemaye Okediji adopt a metaphorical approach to the theme of identity, referencing concepts such as labyrinths, death, food, and patterns to describe the complexity of identity through both regional and global contexts. At this year’s artist retreat, held at Bogobiri House in Lagos, finalists had the opportunity to partake in workshops by leading artists, scholars, and practitioners in their fields and exchange ideas with other finalists. Workshop facilitators this year included Olu Amoda, Uche Okpa-Iroha, Jelili Atiku, Delphine Fawundu, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Robin Hammond, Prince Yemisi Shyllon, Joseph Gergel, Orlando Reade, Nick Hagen, Roger Woodbridge, and Richard Eko. The spirit of the workshops was participatory and fluid and the interaction of the contestants attest to the fundamental mission of the competition in advancing the creative process in Nigeria. African Artists’ Foundation is grateful for the sponsorship of Nigerian Breweries, who have been dedicated supporters of the arts community in Nigeria. Nigerian Breweries has been partnering with African Artists’ Foundation to organise the National Art Competition for five consecutive years, since the competition’s inception. Nigerian Breweries recognizes that the arts play an important role in strengthening cultural values in any society. This sponsorship remains only part of a broad initiative of Nigerian Breweries to support arts development in Nigeria, as well as the development of talents in various fields of creative disciplines. The National Art Competition is also grateful for the generous support of Studio 24, Art Twenty One, Bogobiri House, The Site, PhotoGenic by Dido Studios, and media partners Vanguard, Mania Magazine, and The Beat 99.9 FM. We would also like to express our immense gratitude to Professor El Anatsui for his vital contributions to this year’s competition.
Regardless of the award winners in this yearâ€™s competition, all of the finalists have already won, as they have gained invaluable experience and have evolved their process of artistic creation through their participation. The National Art Competition congratulates the twelve finalists, and looks forward to the future success of their artistic endeavours. Artists Retreat & Workshops July 29 - August 2, 2013
NAC Finalists + Statements + Work in Progress
Alayande Ayanwale “E mi ni e” (I am you)
I sincerely enjoy the beautiful, playful and at the same time the seriousness of adding one object to another object for a meaningful work of art. This playful seriousness has been employed in “E mi ni e (I am You)” to achieve my desired goal. I see myself as an installation artist; with keen interest in working in any medium that best suits my desired end result. In this project, I am influenced by the pieces of the game of chess. I see the pieces as the best to visually help me to understand the concept of identity’s question. I see the game of chess as a replica of life and its different actors on life’s stage. For me, it’s a perfect representation of the different identities that we could have and in making use of the installation pieces coupled with the video and audio installations, I think I have a better grasp of what identity is and should be in man’s daily relationship with other men in the society. My idea on the question of “identity” is that all of us are basically one and the same. The idea of naming identities brings into our collectives consciousness, our lines of division but in remaining nameless and in seeing my identity in other identities, the lines of our division becomes extinct and I say, do, think of others like I will want them say, do and think of me and a united world I think is the bye product of this kind definition and manner of seeing identity.
Chidinma Nnorom Chinke I AM WHAT I WANT
We have greater choices over our identities than ever before. Identity according to post-modernism has become not an authentic energy that comes from within, but a mask or cloak that has been put over us from fragments of external influences (media, film, family, religion, society rules, interpretations...) each day telling us what is right and wrong, so that we fit in. Our looks, personality, beliefs, fears ...is an unfolding story,continually recast in the course of experience. I AM WHAT I WANT deals with personalities torn in-between identities and self realisation and, the culture of consummerism which affects identities. It gives us questions : Do we choose our identities or is it choosen for us? Do we take an influence and consciously choose to either integrate or discard it as part of our identity? Or is it subconscious? Do we even know when we are being influenced? We are therefore what we want or do not want as part of us. Itâ€™s our choice.
Chioma Mary Edoga I Have Arrived
A mixed media painting of 10 panels (polyptych) joined together to make a whole with an outlet maze connected to the labyrinth of the main body. Each panel is 18 X 30inches, together adding up to 7Â˝ X 7Â˝ feet. The labyrinth on the main body of the painting spreads through nine canvases, and rests on square sections of graded colours. The painting is incomplete without one or all parts. Media include oil colour, adhesives, copper and batten pieces on canvas. The technique of the piece is pointillism, giving the colours vibrating and shimmering effects when in contact with light. The painting is primarily made up of six colours; the three primaries and the three secondaries in there different tones, variedly juxtaposed to create contrast and harmony simultaneously. The labyrinth walls taking on greens of different tones, passes over blocks of colours, until it reaches the oculus in the centre, which is the destination. The oculus contains all the colours making up the painting. The maze/ labyrinth in Greek mythotogy was a complex and sophisticated structure designed by Daedalus for King Minos of crete to hold the Minotaur. Its complexity served to hold the Minotaur hostage as he journeyed to find his way out of. In this piece, the medieval labyrinth is adopted as a symbol of journey towards self-actualization. The destination which is the oculus at the centre is the answer to the question of self. The question, who does one think they are is one posed to the mind, seeking answers (to be) provided through conscious steps; a journey. The question of
identity is one that dwells in the minds of anyone who lives in this present time. It asks who, when and what to identify with. Taking this conscious step of questioning self, one finds that identity (who one is) is not predefined, but is informed by the persisting social characters of an era. These social factors; technology, urbanization, globalization, education, religion, inter-ethnicity, tradition, neighborhood, all interact and sum up to found a person or a people, even in their resistance and or acceptance of any or all of these factors. The maze that introduces the labyrinth represents the initial confusion one faces when posed with the question of identity. But surely with persistence and perseverance, one is guided into the sure path of the labyrinth. Each minor and major square block of colour in this piece represents a social character. These square blocks of colours, irrespective of their closeness and unity or contrast and resistance, interact with one another. The path of the labyrinth passes through these colour blocks to represent ones encounter with several social factors which affect and inform what and who the individual becomes. As the oculus at the destination indicates several of the colours used for the colour blocks, it is the interaction of all the factors a person has encountered which becomes who we are. Giving ourselves to and being one with these factors in the end become us. A new identity is created by becoming a product of our time.resistance and or acceptance of any or all of these factors.
Chuka Ejorh & Olamide Udo-Udoma Holding onto Culture: A Brand New Identity/Conflicting Identity
There are 1.13 million Nigerians who do not live in Nigeria, some have moved to a new country in their teens, some as adults, while some have been born in countries they do not call ‘the motherland’. Do you disown your country of origin or hold it dear to you heart? Does a new culture make you question your identity? Does a new country define who you are? Must you build a mini Lagos/Port Harcourt in your new environment? Must you grab at all you can to create a false sense of comfort? The documentary questions the protection or loss of Nigerian identity in the diaspora. A person’s identity is fluid and the friction and cohesion of the identities of Nigerians living in South Africa have been captured. Throughout the process, both artist and subject examined their identity, continuously coming back to the questions: Who am I? Where is home? and Where do I belong?
Erasmus Onyishi Who I Think I Am (Food is Ready)
I am but termitesâ€™ food, Who dies to eat Only to be eaten. I am the edible eater, The cooked cook; A potential meal On the dining table of time RENDITION In addition to exploring tactile forms (Repurposed foil), my work looks at the perceived, yet invisible pitch of artistic language (Smell). Weaving tangible installation with performance in a dramatic irony of smell (the invisible form), could open up an interactive experience between the art and its audience. So, I also explore identity in the presence of the non-present.
Felicia Tochukwu Okpara I and My People
The theme: â€œIdentity: who do you think you are?â€? brought the focus of my creative thoughts and action primarily towards my personal experiences and understanding of the real and true meaning of identity. Traveling across many towns and villages, countries and continents have certainly enriched my thoughts and understanding of what identity is and should be. With these acquired experiences and richer knowledge, identity has become to me, a quintessence of all human goodness, the richness of all global culture and the frontiers of every sustainable human development. In fact, identity; as a creative theme, placed me at the center of my universe; representing the best in humanity as an artist. My sense of identity has transverse beyond language, race, gender, creed, religion, culture, and geographical boundaries. It has become my tool for surviving in any part of this global community. My identity is therefore who I was, who I am today and who I want to be tomorrow. This is what my art is all about. The history and development of modern Nigerian art, and indeed African art in general, cannot be complete without the understanding and appreciation of the immense contribution of the different and often times, unpredictable designs and creative variables that characterized the Nigerian textile arts and fashion designs. Nigerian textile artists appear to shy away from the main stream of art exhibition across the country despite the unquestionable contributions of these artists to the development of Nigerian art. Their ideas, indigenous materials and motifs have been constantly explored by sculptors, painters, and installation artists in creating globally acceptable works of art. In fact, textile art practices appear to have also been absorbed by fashion and
all of the fashion industry. It is against this dilemma that my art forms for the national competition under the theme, â€œIdentity: Who do you think you areâ€? have been designed to bridge the apparent divide between the traditional textile art forms, its fashion characteristics and her place in the installation world of art and for global competitiveness. Three apparently different art forms which I have produced will be installed as one work to represent the theme of the competition. The material and general appearances of the individual and installable art pieces, directly and indirectly explore textile and fashion ideas, materials and forms while at the same time, reflect on our rich global culture and the artistâ€™s knowledge, creative skills and sense of identity.
Halima Abubakar & Zemaye Okediji Patterns
Pat-tern /’pat rn/ n. A repeated decorative design. v. Give a regular or intelligible form to. e
Just as patterns occur as repetitions of a unique design, identity is formed through repetitive occurrences over time. Referencing Erikson’s 1963 study of social development in children and the varying dualities that exist at each time-framed stage of an individual’s lifetime, Patterns visually explores the idea that identity is dynamic and interactive. All three components of the installation examine how identity hangs in the balance of internal and external forces from the individual, to the collective to the nation. The identity panels and curtains focus on how nature and nurture interact to develop the individual’s identity. The rigidity of the panels portray the distinctiveness of identity indicators attributable to nature such as DNA and fingerprints that can also be perceived as flexible units of identity when assessed collectively in motion towards a norm. The relative fluidity of the curtains on the other hand demonstrates how the individual’s environment and experiences therein mold natural predispositions to create a dynamic identity that is a function of what has been nurtured and positively reinforced. The sculptural photo display explores the formation of a collective identity over time through the interaction of perception and reality, one feeding the other such that development begins at two competing ideas of reality – one based on the external perception influencing reality and the other on internally driven action
influencing perception. What emerges is the dominant concept of reality, a recurring pattern that is evident especially when the lines of perception and reality blur such that it is unclear if the internal or external concepts are of greater influence. The visual depiction of this progression of the collective identity uses conceptual images of competing personas, time-valued images representing internally driven development where reality and perception concepts blur, and images of an identity birthed from the emotional outcomes of each stage of social development and the spatial context. The stools, a metaphor for the seat every nation takes at the mercy of technological growth and globalization, represent graffiti patterns critical to the formation of a national identity through subtle repetition that creates the general perception which will if un-countered, stick as the nationâ€™s global identity. Countering the general perception to create a new identity requires formulating new visible narratives. Patterns simply projects that â€˜Identity is formed over time and space through consistent,
subtle repetition such that our reality (who we think we are) is a function of how we are already perceived and our willingness to accept that or our ability to take consistent action towards changing that in rebuilding an authentic identity. We are ultimately who we believe we are, shaped by our most visibly consistent actions (the intelligible forms unique to us/ patterns we are known for and identified by over time) and haunted by our most impactful inaction.
Karimah Ashadu It Doesn’t Need More
It Doesn’t Need More seeks to discern how other women in the diaspora navigate the complexities of two cultural heritages. The films portray the experiences of eight Nigerian women living in London.
It Doesn’t Need More questions the theory of diachronic identity - the idea that one person at one time, and another person at a different time can be said to be the same person experiencing the same conditions.
Ultimately, by sharing their individual stories of identity, these women could be regarded as mirrors of each other and of other women in the diaspora. About the Installation The installation of It Doesn’t Need More features eight open booths, constructed from timber. Each booth contains a TV monitor relaying the women’s stories. These booths allude to the once popular telephone boxes scattered across London. Previously symbols of communication and dialogue, the departure of these telephone boxes on London’s landscape signifies a devolution. For this installation in Lagos, the almost archaic wooden booths act as an overlap of cultures and as a symbol for the reconnection of lost conversations.
Olanrewaju Tejuoso Local Market, Foreign Goods
African people are very creative in every area of life, this also reflects in the way they exhibit their product for sale. The way people exhibit their products like it was found in one of Abami Eda’s songs titled “Suegba na Pako” inspired this roject tiltle
Local Market, Foreign Goods
Fela differentiated beween two opposite characters called Suegba and Pako. The song which I believed was a sertire on individual and National Identity makes one to ask this question; who do you think you are? As an individual or as a nation? Observing our environment with the kind of waste that litters everywhere around us, one will be wondering if the local goods, product or services can really survive in a nation like ours. If one looks at the kind of goods and services in our local market today. It will be 80 to 90 percent of foreign goods and services, e.g made in China, Japan even in Ghana. A look at our politics, religion, social, economic, culture and moral values also make one to wonder if this is real Nigerian or another foreign land. Are we Suegbe or Pako? Where is our signature? Where is our own Identity? Who do we think we are? Made in Nigeria or made in …......
Sesu Tilley-Gyado i-dentiTrees
Nigerian identity has been written about and portrayed by outsiders for decades. However, the recent technological advances on the information age have empowered urban Nigerians to competitively export their own stories, and define themselves for the first time in the global space. Project I explore how i-dentiTrees information age trees of modern Nigerian cityscapes (Broadcast Masts, Electricity Poles, and Billboards) inform and express Nigerian identities within paradigms of information technology, telecommunications and capitalism. Medium Installation: 1 Communications mast (13ftx 3ft), 2 Advertising Billboards (10ftx10ft), 8 interconnected Electricity Poles (9ft). Materials Bamboo poles, cables, satellite dish from Nigerian building sites. The billboards depict original; graphic art collages.
i-dentiTrees Broadcasting Mast: Data Exchange. Symbol of Nigeria’s import of values, goods, skills, foreign religions, information, and commodities (especially refined petroleum products). Bamboo Electricity Poles: Echo tribal totem poles, as within Nigeria identity remains tribe-based. Cables: Transmissions, links. The role of technology in the interconnectedness of data, values, global culture, people, ideas, networks, places, languages, and currencies in information age Nigeria. Billboard #1 Collage: ‘We Are What We Consume’ Collage of QR product codes, a cybernetic map of consumerist trends, and words’ Babel’, ‘Babble’, ’Bible’, ‘Buy Bull’ and ‘Bubble’. The words refer to the universality of commerce (Babel), advertising (Babble), the growing commodification of religious identity (Bible), the over reliance of imported goods (Buy Bull) and the ephemeral nature ‘glocal’ trends and economic memes (Bubble). Billboard #2 Collage: ‘We Are Our Biometric Identity’ A collage of cybernetic photography of DNA and fingerprints. In today’s information age, individual personal identity is reduced into the smallest units of genetic mapping through biometric identification. Billboard #3 Collage: We Are Who We Say We Are A ‘Word Sea’ collage which echoes Michel Foucault’s concept of identity within a ‘prison house of language’. ‘Word Sea’ comprised of: phrases and signs heard and found on Nigerian streets URL’s, websites, Bible verses, ID card numbers, bank account numbers, codes, recharge card numbers, qualifications, Profiles. Billboard #4 Collage: We Are Who We Were Collage of images of ancient Nigerian artefacts and images of the British Museum). This highlights the national cultural identity crisis caused by Nigeria’s colonial origins in 1914, and its lost/ appropriated heritage.
Taiye Idahor Untitled
My identity today has changed, it was different before the internet; childhood games involved sand and grass as cooking ingredients and I rode a bicycle around the neighbourhood for fun. Today my 5 year old nephew operates an ipad better than its owner and his brand new bicycle is still parked upstairs waiting to experience the feeling of dirt on its wheels. Who my forefathers were was once determined by their village, the kind of trees that grew there, the gods they worshipped, the language they spoke, the food they ate and the list goes on; it is not the case today. The advantages of industrialization may be plenty and one that stands out like red paint on white paper is easy, cheap and quick access to information but maybe more than we can handle, and as the advantages grow, so does the disadvantages. The identity I describe in my work refers to the one built around the access we have to so much information, social media and our daily interaction with them through the many devices and gadgets that create the ease of reach. Her head with its colour reflects the robotic lifestyle we live today but yet her expression is one of discomfort or uncertainty, a reminder that she is human and not plastic as you may have thought. The newspaper acts as a metaphor for all kinds of information we receive and its woven form brings to life the element of identity in the work.
Access to information is at our finger tips and has almost become like the air we breathe, we cannot do without it, hence it has become a burden, a weight like the weaves found on her flowing from her head where all information is processed, and down all around her body like ropes restricting her movement hence she has become static and imprisoned. Itâ€™s almost as though what we see in movies is happening in real life; machines taking over the world. Lifeâ€™s routine is almost the same these days, we now live in two worlds; more in the virtual one and less in the real world with less and less human interaction. Instead of the freedom information is supposed to afford us, it is gradually enslaving us
Victoria Samuel Udondian Arti-tude
‘‘…Over the centuries and in countless ways, imported fabrics were thus assimilated
into West African clothing traditions, becoming characteristic components of ethnic costumes that are commonly understood as ‘traditional clothing.’’ Babara Plankensteiner
In Nigeria where political divides keep the cauldron of ethnic sensitivity alive, identity becomes a weapon in the battle field of ideology, dragging fashion statements into the ring. Subconsciously, Nigerians, over the decades - irrespective of political or ethnic leanings - have imbibed different fashion statements to boost social status, within and outside their immediate geographical area. This background has led to the research and eventual creation of this body of work based on the theme of the National Art Competition NAC 2013, Identity: Who Do You Think You Are? This body of work titled Arti-tude, produced from research and engaging Archival documents and photos, exposes the dynamics and complexities of fashion as an identity across generations and cultures. Also, in some cases, ‘identity’ is built on other people’s culture or influences from European contacts with Africa. As rich as Africa is in tradition, most fashions of the ancient period – if truly there
were - seem to have disappeared even before the arrival of the European colonial masters. What is regarded as traditional attire today in some cases are remnants of colonial Influences, except in few areas of ceremonial dresses that have embroideries of native narratives. For example, most of the fabrics used in the so-called traditional African attires are imported from Europe, who interestingly has been facing a lot of competition from the Far East in recent times, just as the non-ceremonial traditional ways of dressings are equally western influenced. More so, the influx of cheap second-hand clothing has further harmed the local textile industry. In totality, within the Nigerian context, ‘identity’ from the clothing perspective in some cultures is hardly a reality, but a myth that would keep exciting traditionalists for a long time. However, economic and social advantages bestowed on few ethnic groups by history keep playing a pivotal role in the direction of socio-cultural identity across the country. In presenting Arti-tude, the culminating effect of imported fabrics and used clothes, which have crept into the dressing attitude of some sections of Nigeria, informs the collaging of ‘second-hand’ clothing culture as components of this body of work in satirical form to question individual identity of the ethnic nationalities. Articulated in a series of nine self-portraits titled Ndise mmi (my portrait); the artist energizes the issue of identity. Using her body as the starting point, she questions the status of her ethnic identity on the Nigerian fashion landscape. From north to west and south of Nigeria, Victoria Udondian’s covert burlesque work excavates and contextualizes the historical links to the peoples. In finding the relationship between her individual and collective identity, She engages life forms in a sculptural and performative rendition as part of the content titled ‘Fog of Colours’. This ‘human sculptures’ from different Natioanlities wear hybridized garments, thus questioning the trajectories and complexities of Nigerian traditional dressing.
2013 NAC Finalists
Established in 2007, African Artistsâ€™ Foundation is a non-profit art organisation which aims to promote the development of African art and artists, with the joint mission of raising awareness of relevant societal issues through the use of creative and artistic expression. In carrying out its mission, AAF organises competitions, workshops and exhibitions all aimed at unearthing talent, creating societal awareness and promoting the development of art in Nigeria. African Artistsâ€™ Foundation (AAF) 54 Raymond Njoku Street, Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria
African Artistsâ€™ Foundation (AAF)