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artist johnson uwadinma, nigeria: amnesia

Amnesia at Art X Lagos

Johnson Uwadinma is a contemporary Nigerian artist known for his paintings and installations that feature tessellating hues and multiple textures. Uwadinma’s work is characterized by an interest in truth, morality, memory, history and the never-ending intrigue of human co-existence. Uwadinma’s work is defined by past and present experiences of the Nigerian State and Africa’s history. His solo exhibition The Afterlife of Forgetting in 2017 questions how news as an agency is consumed and internalized and history shelved in an attempt to bury memory.  Uwadinma’s new project Amnesia will open   November 3rd at Art X Lagos, and will close on the 5th.  The colorful chain collage of newspaper balls in Amnesia continues to address the imperfections of the news media in Nigeria.  Art X Lagos is an art fair with international galleries participating.  The body of Amnesia is a mixed media work incorporating newspapers, rubber bands, sewing thread, and fishing line.

Growing up as a child I usually get to buy a local snack called ‘akara’ (bean cake) on my way to school. These balls of akara is usually parceled in newspapers after purchase before the advent of nylon bags. After snacking up on the balls, I will end up trying to read the news from the torn soiled papers. Recently, this experience formed a metaphor for how news as an agency is consumed and recycled in Nigeria and Africa and how history and social narratives take a back seat.  Johnson Uwandinma

HAF: How do you think the issue of news dissemination can be addressed to bring about a change in Nigeria?  

Uwadinma: Education is key to addressing this issue coupled with a policy will on the part of the political class for a sustainable change.

HAF: How has colonialism and culture of the West impact this current plight of Nigeria?

Uwadinma: Colonialism brought about a forced marriage of tribal nations that hitherto had basically trade as common interest. It’s consequent result is a political system divided along tribal and religious sentiments. A comprehensive understanding of historical narratives such as this and its importance is where education can play a critical role. With daily news and its consumption, what we have are repetitive tales of corruption, conflict, and parochial interest. The news is so constant that it even looses relevance. The reaction is now more or less on whether the weight of social injustice such as corruption weighs more than the last headline.

Uwadinma studied art at the University of Port Harcourt graduating with a B.A and an M.A in 2005 and 2013 respectively. He received the First Prize of the NNPC/EPNL Sponsored World Environment Day Art Competition in 2005. Uwadinma has exhibited extensively in several group exhibitions and has had three solo exhibitions; Aphorism, at Mydrim Gallery, Lagos in 2013, Erasure, at Boys’ Quarters Project Space, Port Harcourt in 2014 and more recently, The Afterlife of Forgetting, at Boys’ Quarters Project Space, Port Harcourt in 2017. He lives and works in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Recent group exhibitions include Imago Mundi: Map of the New Art in Venice, Italy in 2015 and The Pineapple Show at Tiwani Contemporary in London in 2016.

johnson uwadinma, nigeria
johnson uwadinma, nigeria
johnson uwadinma, nigeria
"amnesia" newspapers, rubber bands, sewing thread, and fishing line.
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