September 24th – November 7th, 2015
Skoto Gallery is pleased to present Owu (Threading), an exhibition of recent mixed media sculpture by the Nigerian-born artist Ifeoma Anyaeji. This will be her second solo show at the gallery. The artist will be present at the reception on Thursday, September 24th, 6-8pm.
Ifeoma Anyaeji’s recent work continues her exploration of discarded materials, its quality and physical nature, placing emphasis on process to activate a meaningful engagement and creative openness that strives to reinvigorate newly acquired techniques and ideas. Her work centers on the idea of up-cycling or concept of material re-use such as the ubiquitous non-biodegradable plastic bags and bottles into something of greater value and unorthodox, eliciting unique elements of ripeness and continuous growth. Using traditional hair plaiting techniques from her homeland, she threads and braids discarded plastic bags into plasto-yarns combined with a strong compositional ability into complex yet lyrical visual narratives filtered through cultural memories and contemporary realities that reflect subtle understanding of context and an awareness of the relationship between function and experimentation.
Ifeoma Anyaeji’s work is dense with visual complexity that reflects an awareness of a vast array of both formal and inherited traditions while exploring their aesthetic, sensual, and visual content to assert a different declaration, and a new way of making art. By imbuing mundane materials, marks and processes with surprising significance and intricate design, her work is transformed into an extraordinary visual poetry with rich textures of vibrations and pulsations that allow the viewer a freedom of imagination, interpretation and emotional response. The exhibition includes a strong selection of new works that are persistently innovative and demonstrate an awareness of the expressive possibilities of abstraction while encouraging us to probe into common elements of the human experience. “Queen Eliza” mimics the wannabe look of a young ‘fashionista’, merging a conspicuous, traditional and almost uncoordinated webbed hair-do with fancy psychedelic heels cropped from colonial fashion, challenging the line between newness and the new. ‘Made in ‘Shina’ speaks the language of an accrued compulsive material acquisition and an architectural build-up of these acquisitions – of course almost all made in ‘Shina’.
Ifeoma Anyaeji was born 1981 in Benin City, Nigeria. She obtained an undergraduate degree in Painting with honors from the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria in 2005 and as a Ford Foundation International Fellow, she obtained her MFA, Sculpture in 2012 at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri, USA. She has participated in several solos and group exhibitions at home and abroad, including ‘Reclamation’, University of Missouri, Columbia in 2012 and Basket Case II, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, 2014. She was the Washington University in St Louis Nominee for the 2012 International Sculpture Center Outstanding Student Achievement Award. She is in several collections in Africa, Europe and the US. She is in the faculty at the University of Benin, Nigeria, and currently pursuing a PhD program at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.