Kó, an art space based in Lagos, is preparing to conclude its three-part exhibition show, “The New Nsukka School Series.” Since January 28, the exhibition has featured work by Ngozi-Omeje Ezema, Eva Obodo, and Ozioma Onuzulike.
The New Nsukka School refers to artists who have studied and taught at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka’s Fine Arts Department. It has been described as “a stylistic heritage whose formal and aesthetic codes draw from a creative ideology that is conceptually idealized, experimentally driven and intellectually grounded.”
The three artists at the exhibition are lecturers in the school’s Department of Fine and Applied Arts: Ezema is a lecturer in ceramics, Obodo is a senior lecturer in sculpture, and Onuzulike is a professor of ceramics and art history.
Ezema, whose work has been exhibited in Ghana, South Korea, China, Senegal, and the US, presented Boundless Vases, from January 28 to February 11. Featuring ceramic art installations, it explores the leaf motif as a metaphor for the body, familial ties, and womanhood.
“The leaf represents aspects of tenderness in women that is often taken for granted,” she explained. “The leaf is equally suggestive of the long suffering that women undergo in relationships. When you look at the colour of the leaves in my work, they give the impression that the leaves have dried, yet they still retain their beauty.”
Obodo presented his exhibition from February 25 to March 18. A mixed-media artist whose primary mediums are jute and charcoal, his work, which has been exhibited in Japan and Senegal, references corruption, income equality, and the destruction of the environment.
“I use my mediums to reference what happens in the county negatively: the herdsmen, banditry, kidnapping,” he said of his inspiration. “When you look at my work you will see bondage, trying wrapping. I am trying to show that the materials are not free. (It is) the visual vocabulary can interpret what I have been experiencing as a Nigerian.”
The third artist, Onuzulike, will present his work from March 29 to April 22. His exhibition is titled The Way We Are.
His work explores the various symbolisms available in the use of clay for his mixed-media projects.
He engages with the “historical and sociological roots of the political and socio-economic turmoil” in the African continent, as well as its effects in the daily lives of ordinary people.
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a journalist, social critic and literary enthusiast. He is the recepient of the 2017 Fisayo Soyombo National Essay Prize, the 2020 Speculative Literary Foundation’s Diverse Writers Grant and the 2020 K&L Prize for African Literature. He is the founder of SprinNG, a platform dedicated to the development of young African writers.