Arts  

When Uwagboe’s Defying Inhumanity toured Argentina

Known for his consistent ‘protest art’, Bob-Nosa Uwagboe recently took his revolutionary message to Argentina, where he challenged the privileged class to rescue humanity from declining values.

The artist announced his presence in Argentina with two solo shows hosted by the South American country’s government. Sponsored by Buenos Aires City Government, the first show, titled, Defying Inhumanity, according to Uwagboe, was inaugurated on April 15 with the assistance of government officials, authorities of the cultural centre, artists and general public. The Nigerian Mission in Argetina, he disclosed, was also present at the exhibition.

From April 4 to10, he also showed Defying Inhuamanity at Culture House – Capilla del Señor – Buenos Aires Province.

Both shows featured oil, aquarelle, drawings, paintings, gouache, including a retrospective of his work added to recent work made in Argentina.

In his shows, Bob-Nosa draws a world where inhumanity no more threatens human existence.

“He challenges the stereotypes of the bourgeois social classes, the non-action of the political classes and of all those who passively watch the social decadence,” explained the curator in his note on the show. “In his painting the force of the protest about social injustices is clearly observed.”

The name of his ‘Protest Studio’ is testimony of his convictions, the curatorial statement added.

His works have been featured in prominent solo and group exhibitions in Lagos where he lives – Beyond Figuration, Omenka Gallery, Lagos; World Bank Art Exhibition, Abuja; in regional shows in West Africa – The Last Picture show in Douala. Internationally, he has also exhibited at Art Basel Miami. And now in Buenos Aires.

Asked about Argentina, Uwagboe said that the atmosphere of Buenos Aires was very inspiring and while he was creating the new paintings, he felt the distance between Argentina and Nigeria disappeared.

Argentina gave him the best welcome and celebrated hisrebellious style.

Seven years after his debut solo, Homme titled, at the African Artists’ Foundation, Uwagboe late last year in Lagos, showed another solo exhibition titled, Obituary.

Held in November at Signature Beyond Gallery, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, it featured his recent paintings, which focused on contemporary African challenge in migration and refugees.

Bob-Nosa Uwagboe was born in 1974 in the ancient city of Benin, Edo State. He received his professional education at the famous colourist school, Auchi Polytechnic, where he graduated with a Higher National Diploma (H.N.D) in 2004, specialising in painting.

Bob-Nosa, as he is fondly called, retired immediately to full-time studio practice after his mandatory national service in Abuja. After a brief stay in the nation’s capital, he relocated to lagos to set up The Protest Art Studio to explore his creative energy into an experimental path that has resulted in thought provoking themes, and often times, spark of anger, pain, passion and vision that are not defined by the subject matters or border set by artistic canons.

“My art is a puzzle, magical and consuming to my viewers. My creative process is a moment of calmness, anger, pain, passion, therapeutic and evoking emotion in which I employ diverse materials such as my used fabric, my hair, sand, papers, sack, rope, acrylic, spray paint, crayon, charcoal, oil paint on canvas or board and this process is a moment of total surrender to my will power and opening up my soul as a channel where good ideas pass through and the result is of human significance and with global validity. I don’t pre-destine my art process, these might circumscribe my creative effort and jeopardize creativity,” he said.

Uwagboe shocked the art public in 2009 in his show, Recent works by Bob-Nosa, held at the Pan African University in Lagos with originality and strength of his voice. His work can be found in many respectable public and private collections both in Nigeria and abroad and has shown in different important exhibition worldwide.

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