Art is an expression of human creative skills, imagination and stories in visual form. Rele is dedicated to telling relevant stories through art.
Undoubtedly, no story is as enduring, as increasingly urgent as that of femininity. This is clearly demonstrated in the global movement, the International Women’s Day designed to not only amplify and advance the female cause but draw attention to same. Of course, as we all know change is not a marathon. It is a sprint. The theme of this year’s day, however, asks us to #BeBoldForChange.
Heeding this call to courage, even though we know the road ahead is still long, Rele is pleased to announce HER STORY, an all-female exhibition exploring the female experience in its different shades and complexity.
We seek to celebrate femininity and its place in today’s world; its joys, victories and losses. We also seek to shine a light on issues oft-ignored or not given the robust audience they deserve, as directly pertaining to women.
Showing in this all-women exhibition is a diverse collection of evocative artists who have looked inward, put brush to canvas to tell layered stories as led by inspiration and their unique experiences, observations.
The exhibition is led by a special feature from an accomplished artist, Ngozi Schommers. She is not alone.
Also lending their voices to the cause are Ayobola Kekere-Ekun, Oluchi Zọtam, Queen Nwaneri, Buki M. Animashaun, and Haneefah Adam.
Ayobola, through a series of female portraits, seeks to explore the construct of culture in relation to how women navigate the patriarchal space in Nigeria. Her Cultural Dysmorphia series feature portraits veiled and blinded which is a visual allegory to the ‘eyes wide shut’ approach to the social and cultural problems of the society. These pieces draw on a range of experiences personal to the artist, from sexual harassment to the vilification of female sexuality.
Oluchi is telling a story of beauty. As a lover of nature, she has intertwined the long accepted connection between women and nature. Not so much in the labels that have been placed on it over the years and become widely accepted by society, but in the obscure and different angles in which she finds subtle meaning.
Queen presents a statement for the girl child. Through her pieces, I Can Think; I Can Be; I am a Woman; and Listen, she speaks to events that surround the girl-child currently, most paramount of which are her rights to education and marriage. By extension, the works interrogate salient societal issues relegating women in our society. Her work here is a protest that contemplates how the woman can assert herself and obtain her rights in the society without any label coloration.
Buki’s story as a woman begins and ends with this label. A label that tends towards what is familiar; to signify a universal understanding of an entity is to label it. However, often, the lines between this begins to fade and definitions evolve faster than you can assign another. Her Black Hearted series produced through abstract contemporary language is liberation from societal labels and familiarity.
Haneefah working with mixed media will be taking the observer through a journey of self-discovery, the pursuit of passion, questioning stereotypes and breaking free to immerse herself in expression without a leash.
The conversations these women will start are not only necessary for archival purposes but for awareness and inspiration for progression.
The exhibition will open on Sunday February 26, 2017. It will be our utmost delight that you join us in this conversation and be inspired by these stories.