Art exhibition, "Wanderlust" features works of six artists with roots in Germany and Nigeria as they explore the concept of 'wandern.'
The art exhibition, curated by Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, features 36 paintings, drawings, photographs and mixed media works by six internationally celebrated artists, with strong roots in Germany and Nigeria, who have adventured and experienced living across borders, exploring the concept of ‘wandern’, a term of Germanic origin, drawing on our collective desire to travel and explore.
“I think it is important that art helps us question, reinforce or realign our core values which shape our individual and community evolving histories,” explained Obiago, the curator and Artistic Director of SMO Contemporary Art. “I trust the Wanderlust exhibition will bring us to a deeper understanding of the emotional and physical effects of migration and hopefully increase our empathy for the world’s displaced people.“
Speaking at the exhibition, Award-winning artist Chidi Kwubiri highlighting the need to “open up” emotionally, spiritually, and physically when embarking on life journeys. According to him,
"openness relates to wanderlust" and his project talks about his culture both home and abroad. "Wanderlust explores the hidden parts of our lives."
On whether we all have the desire to wander? Artist, Junkman of Africa, who is known for sculptural installations of recycled objects, presents a new body of fragile paper works, expressing the “transitional realities” of wanders through human and animal forms migrating through abstract colour landscapes says "yes, we do. The spirit of man just want to explore because the spirit has no limit."
Numero Unoma, a writer-Photographer, witty, tongue-in-cheek pop-art paintings and poetry touch on the irony of travel, teasing out deep seated cultural sensibilities from differing African and European viewpoints.
According to Unoma, the use of signs and symbol in her piece is where "science and word meet to make meaning to us, depending on our perspective."
Fashion photographer, Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko presents multi-layered photographs which reflect nuanced historical African migration narratives while pushing the boundary of stylised studio images.
Ayeni-Babaeko on the inspiration for these pieces, says 'I wandered for inspiration when I was told about this exhibition so I decided to share my own personal experience of how I always wanted to come back home (Nigeria) years after my family and I left the country. I wanted to remember what home was like, the food and all that.'
Jimmy Nwanne’s soulful portraits of men and women haunted by memories of fading histories are a powerful reaction to European socio-political realities.
Nwanne describing his pieces as pieces that talk about what everyone can connect with, no matter where they were.
Known for his installation and performance art, Emeka Udemba presents stark portraits of society’s marginalised wanderers reflecting the emotional and physical “up-rootedness” of (imi)migrants and (emi)grants.
Udemba's pieces explore how "everyone of us especially the young ones have a urge to visit big cities and are willing to risk everything just to get there." A sense of trying to be somewhere better.
The exhibition which focuses on the world’s growing burden of cross-border migration responds to a frequently polarized and fragmented world with these artists exploring the internal and external aspects of Wanderlust – especially vis-a-vis migration issues in Africa and Europe, and the walk across the world of many refugees seeking safe haven. The works touch on the modern reality and ancient roots of exploration, seen from the unique perspective of Nigerian-German Wanderers.