A new contemporary African art show, There, Here, Nowhere: Dwelling at the edge of the world,” explores the liminal space occupied by the Black diaspora

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Swimming in the Lagos Marina, Chukwudubem Ukaigwe, 2020. Exhibition There, Here, Nowhere: Dwelling at the Edge of the World. Courtesy Kanbi Projects
Swimming in the Lagos Marina, Chukwudubem Ukaigwe, 2020. Exhibition There, Here, Nowhere: Dwelling at the Edge of the World. Courtesy Kanbi Projects.

Kanbi Projects, in collaboration with The Koppel Project Exchange, presents “There, Here, Nowhere: Dwelling at the edge of the world,” a new show that examines Black Diasporic experiences through the visual narratives of four emerging Black artists: Ekene Maduka, Austin Uzor, Tobi Alexandra Falade, and Chukwudubem Ukaigwe.

London, Winnipeg (Canada), and Texas may have become the geographically scattered dwelling places of these artists, but all four are linked through their birthplace: Nigeria. And their Nigerian cultural heritage runs deeply through their visual works which, put together, constitute an investigation into the space they occupy as members of the Black Diaspora, and as Black artists in the Western World.

In that space, which collapses past and present, “There,” their country of birth, melds with “Here,” their new adoptive country to form a hybrid space that is “Nowhere” on a map. As immaterial as it may look, this mental scape is the fertile ground that nourishes the creative drive of the artists in the show and by extension begets a hybrid diasporic identity for a large number of the Black Community.

Cassava for bullet shell, Austin Uzor. Exhibition There, Here, Nowhere: Dwelling at the edge of the world. Courtesy Kanbi Projects.
Cassava for bullet shell, Austin Uzor. Exhibition There, Here, Nowhere: Dwelling at the edge of the world. Courtesy Kanbi Projects.

The exhibition “There, Here, Nowhere: Dwelling at the edge of the world” sets in motion a double dialogue: the first, among the exhibiting artists and then between the artists and the viewers, about the significance of holding a dual culture and living in, in-between spaces.

The exhibition is a foray into the individual and unique artistic practice of Ekene Maduka, Austin Uzor, Tobi Alexandra Falade, and Chukwudubem Ukaigwe. It weaves together Maduka’s ongoing study of the “self” with Uzor’s focus on trauma and displacement, connects them to Falade’s rendering of trans-national experiences, and Ukaigwe’s vivid exploration of multiple realities. From their bi-cultural vantage point, each artist has articulated a visual language to reframe the notion of Blackness and Black diasporic aesthetics in the art world.

The show gives rise to in-depth philosophical questions that range from inter-connectedness, hybrid identity, to social and racial equality. These have always been pressing issues for those who straddle several cultures and mostly gravitate at the periphery of Western societies. But now, against the backdrop of the #Blacklivesmatter movement and the ensuing global protest for equality, a new generation is calling on Western societies as a whole to address these issues with a new sense of urgency.

“There, Here, Nowhere: Dwelling at the Edge of the World” is curated by Kanbi Projects in collaboration with The Koppel Project Exchange, 193 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EU. The show will run from 18th September until 6th October 2020.

 

 

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