Drawing its title from Marc Aufraise’s statement in his 2014 essay Identities, “Seizing control of one’s history, understanding it, pushes one to take on the back-and-forth between past and present, here and there, “Home is Here and There” explores issues of migration, movement, and mobility within the African continent.
Making an account of a trajectory - that of Africa - from past to present-day realities as expressed by the very agents and witnesses of this perpetual evolution, the concept of migration is beyond moving out of the continent, it also involves the movement of Africans within their continent. While this exhibition acknowledges the historical evolution narratives of the African diasporas and the various waves of migrations that make up the constitution of the African community outside the continent, Home is Here and There examines cultural connections, and intellectual movements within the continent through centuries of interactions. It presents the rich legacy of these connections, and how it has forged the continuity of Africans as a people. The exhibition aims to present an erasure of geographic borders, a sense of nationality, and the notion of territories in the mind of viewers. The exhibition rather draws attention to the connections, values, that weaves us together as Africans, thus presenting a cosmopolitan African continent.
As such, Home is Here and There examines how Africans move within the continent; from one country to another, within the same country, from rural to urban. It explores the concept of home when the sense of place is ever-changing. It poses the question, where is home?
Cameroon-born, Nigeria-based artist, Nathalie Djakou Kassi draws inspiration from her childhood memory of playing with the red laterite earth of her native Cameroon, and African motifs, symbols, and masks. Her abstract works are a critical reflection on the effect of climate change, and political, social, and cultural issues affecting our changing environment. She reflects on how her experiences in her country of birth are similar to her experiences in the country she is now based. Drawing conclusions from her meditation on these issues, she states that “Home can be anywhere”. Through her ceramic works, Nathalie depicts how several factors fit together to create an individual’s ideal home. From people to ambitions, security to development, she believes that we all have unique parameters for choosing our safe spaces.
Benjamin Osondu Onuorah, who currently lives and works in Lagos, hails from Anambra State, the South-eastern region of the country. In his body of work, Soul Searcher: Osondu, Ben uses figures and symmetric lines inspired by the rich Igbo philosophical ideologies such as the Uli and Nsibidi designs to explore various socio-cultural phenomena including the role of the soul in our choice of where we call home. His paintings draw upon symbols, motifs from his childhood memories of home, spirituality, and tradition.
Togolese Nigerian-born artist, Bamidele George Agbezin’s body of work is deeply rooted in culture and tradition. Cutting across transcultural beliefs, lifestyles, and everyday living, Bamidele seeks to re-examine our values as humans, by asking important questions about who we are, and what shapes our lives. He examines the impact of the COVID pandemic on our world today, and how we heal.
With Home is Here and There, we hope that each artwork would speak to the mind of the viewer, inspire a sense of home, and connect people to their roots thereby instilling the consciousness of the values that bind us together as humans.
Get tickets to the exhibition here.