Ehikhamenor opens artist residency, Angels and Muse

Angels and Muse gallery opens with Haneefah Adams’ works

Artist residency is the new ‘game changer’ on the Lagos’ landscape of art. As a quiet area of art resource, artist residency is suddenly taking a more visible portion on the city’s creative sector. In fact, the new trend in artist residency in Lagos is energising the speed of contemporary Nigerian art towards stronger reckoning.

Within a radius of less than 500 metres, south-west Ikoyi, Lagos for example, two artist residency spaces sprung up in just two years. While the earlier residency space, set up inside other building was created by art promoters, Arthouses, the newest, Angels & Muse, which occupies a two-floor building, is a project from the studio of artist, Victor Ehikhamenor. Though the top floor of Angels & Muse houses the artist’s studio and a mini-gallery, the entire space radiates boldness that shifts the paradigm in art dispensing on the Lagos’ creative environment.

Angels & Muse, according to its focus, is about creating an atmosphere for intellectual engagement of artists via art and books. A gallery space, lounge and bedrooms on the ground floor area are among the features of the new residency facility. But something seems to be missing – there is no studio for artists in the residency facility. Lack of studio, is deliberate, Ehikhamenor clarifies: “No studio because its a space of intellectual research for curators, writers and other scholars.” Library, he assures, will be added with the relevant books.

Perhaps the launching of Angels and Muse on a scorching Saturday afternoon would have ended as just another gathering to celebrate an art facility. But the featured artist at the gallery room of the residency space, Haneefah Adam, makes a huge difference with her sculptures. Adam’s sculptures in outlines of figural female dancers, though presented in installation format, celebrates dance and draughtsmanship skills. In fact, the sculptures highlight the basic rules and importance of lines in the process of creating art. And like most artists of figurative representation, Adam also finds the female anatomy as the right foundation on which to build the art and skills of dancing. Also of importance are the basic rules of lines and forms on which the artist structures her thematic rendition.

And specifically, Adam, who is a Pharmacologist by training, finds dance as her thematic fulcrum on which to place the beauty of female anatomy.

“I wanted to tell a story of dance and the body by using lines to create minimalistic expressions, depicting body movements in respect to dance that can be transfigured,” the artist who dresses in conservative long gowns states. “The installation aims to observe the connection between femininity and celebration.”

As the featured artist at the maiden exhibition of Angels and Muse, Adam’s unique concept fits perfectly into the host space’s equally strong contents in art residency. The new residency brings literary contents as a factor in visual expressionism. And why not, the founder, Ehikhamenor, has benefited so much from the pool of both arts. He is an artist of design lineage and an author. He describes the space as a “thought laboratory in Lagos” energising art, literature, and culture intellectual discussions. “Our broad goal is to enchant and enlighten by drawing from traditions​ of intellectual honesty, curiosity, and generosity.”

Among the features of the facility is ‘the multidisciplinary room,’ which is projected to serve quite some purposes such as workshop, training, book reading, experimental or conceptual art exhibitions, among other usages.

Despite having his studio on the top floor, the founder’s signature is also conspicuous within the residency space on the ground floor. Leading into the bedrooms, from the lounge, is Ehikhamenor’s signature room. And sharing walls, but quite hidden from each other, are the gallery room as well as bedrooms and kitchenette. The residency facility, Ehikhamenor assures, “offers itself as a self-contained short stay with a new artsy vibe.”

Using artist residency facility comes with its cost. But for Angels and Muse, there is a philanthropic start to lift young artists. In its inaugural year, the ‘BookArtArea’ welcomes “local and international artists, curators, writers, filmmakers, cultural activists, etc to create work as well as facilitate an interdisciplinary workshop for our community of young creatives.” These will include expanding “on a multiplicity of themes and offer a toolkit for thinkers to develop urgent and compelling work.”

As a philanthropic wing of the residency, the BookArtArea, Angels and Muse explains, facilitates “an interdisciplinary master class for young artists, expanding on the themes explored in the talks, and offering a toolkit for young thinkers to develop intellectually stimulating, urgent and compelling works.”

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