Arts & Entertainments

Matters of Essence: Exploring materiality, significance of artistic practice in societal issues

A group exhibition featuring works by Bunmi Babatunde, Ngozi-Omeje Ezema, Obiora Anidi, Reuben Ugbine, Samuel Nnorom, Sabastine Ugwuoke, and Victoria Udondian, which opened penultimate Saturday, at kó Artspace, Ikoyi, Lagos, ends this weekend. The exhibition, titled ‘Matters of Essence’, explores materiality and the significance of artistic practice in addressing societal issues.


The exhibition examines how Nigerian artists are responding to their society and the happenings inherent. While acknowledging the unconventional transformation of these materials, essential matters within our society are raised and addressed.


“The artists which are unified under the umbrella of exploration of materiality were carefully selected to investigate ways in which materiality traverses and is engaged within time and space. More importantly, the exhibition examines the artists’ engagement with their chosen material, and the relationship between their choice of materials, and their environment. ‘Matter of Essence’ allows the viewer to savour them as primary materials before layers of complexities are revealed,” notes kó Artspace in a statement announcing the exhibition.


‘Matters of Essence’ is on view till this Saturday, May 21. kó is an art space bayed in Lagos, Nigeria, that is dedicated to promoting modern and contemporary art. Founded by Kavita Chellaram, an art collector and founder of Arthouse Contemporary in Lagos, Nigeria, kó has a dual focus in championing Nigeria’s leading artists from the modern period and celebrating emerging and established contemporary artists across Africa and the Diaspora.


According to Chellaram, kó’s focus is two-fold, in championing Nigeria’s leading artists from the modern period and celebrating emerging and established contemporary artists across Africa and the Diaspora. “Throughout my career, I have had the honour of developing projects with numerous modern African masters, including Ben Enwonwu, Yusuf Grillo, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Demas Nwoko, Uche Okeke, Simon Okeke, Emmanuel Odita and Oseloka Osadebe, among many others.


After producing the retrospective exhibition, Zaria Art Society: Celebration of Legacies in 2019, I realised the need to form a gallery that would promote these important art masters.



I have also had the privilege of working with many of Nigeria’s most celebrated contemporary artists, including Peju Alatise, Nnenna Okore, Sokari Douglas Camp, George Osodi, Eva Obodo and Diseye Tantua. I have also been able to develop relationships with several emerging artists over the years through our artist residency programme, and I am eager to work alongside many of these artists as a gallerist,” she stated.




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