Victor Ehikhamenor: Chronicles Of The Enchanted World

21 May - 19 July 2014

The Gallery of African Art is pleased to present Chronicles Of The Enchanted World - a solo exhibition of new and recent works by multi-talented Nigerian artist Victor Ehikhamenor.  His seamless shift between the fields of painting, installation, sculpture, video and photography has marked Ehikhamenor out as one of Nigeria's most exciting contemporary artists. The focus of the exhibition will be Ehikhamenor's paintings and site-specific sculptural installations that explore his rich cultural past. Drawing inspiration from African folklore, mythology, history and religious iconography, Ehikhamenor's paintings and sculptural installations reconstruct characters and events from the past to create a new contemporary reality. This response is visualised through charcoal, acrylic, enamel and an innovative perforation process.


Known for his large-scale work - several of Ehikhamenor's huge canvases feature in the exhibition. In the dense compositions of Lovers of Good Evening Street and Waiting Along the Hallway of Pleasure, Ehikhamenor appropriates the signs and symbols he saw as a young boy on the walls of village shrines to create a maze like effect. Abstract figurative forms complete both works with bodies hidden within bodies. In the works such as A Poem and A Painting and Art from The Heart, these precise intricate designs continue on fine newspaper print.

 

A highlight of the exhibition includes the pin-pricked like works that not only reveal a new direction in Ehikhamenor's practice, but underlines his reputation for experimentation and innovation. The technique called 'paintforation' uses nail perforations on thick handmade paper to create a relief effect. This style of deliberate marking by Ehikhamenor - which builds upon his face series - recalls the once popular practice of scarification. Works such as Scars That Never Heal and Heirloom of the Gods make use of this pattern making process to spectacular effect.

 

In a departure from his monotone or controlled use of colour, in the series This Is Not A War Story, colour oozes on Ehikhamenor's canvas. There is no inclined palette. In Ehikhamenor's sculptural canvases colour schemes are defined, referring to specific masquerade performances that still occur today. In the work titled The Whirlwind Dancers of Uwessan, he recreates the movement of the dance through the contours of his canvas. 

 

Victor Ehikhamenor's reach as a visual artist has more recently resulted in a collaboration with Nigerian Fashion House Ituen Basi. Many of the paintings and motifs from Chronicles Of The Enchanted World were used in the Summer 2014 collection.