” My work explores process and materials, informed by legacies of will and transformation in the African American experience.”
– Sharon Louise Barnes
“If Not Now…When?”
February 23, 2018 – March 23, 2018
“Stages of Collapse”
September 29, 2017 – November 1, 2017
The Nigerian artist first appeared on the American art scene in a group exhibition at the Armory Show NYC, 2016, Focus: African Perspectives — Global Contemporaries presented by Omenka Gallery, New York. Omuku returns to America, exhibiting her first solo show in Atlanta, home of the American Human Rights Movement.
On view from September 29th to November 5th, Stages of Collapse examines the relevance of environment. In this work, Omuku explores how the human experience is subject to “the gathering of information-mentally, physically and emotionally.” She portrays themes of rebirth through abstract representations of dreams that interpret the female body in regard to “gradual dematerialization,” in which she describes, “ the body is constantly selecting and adapting in order to belong.”
ABOUT STAGES OF COLLAPSE
Stages of Collapse is inspired by Nengi Omuku’s journey. Born in Nigeria and spending most of her adult life in England, identity became a theme in her work. The change in space and exposure to a new environment created in her a, ‘heightened awareness of the body in space’. The exhibition catalogues the stages of the gradual dematerialization of the human body, seeing the body resurface as colored and amorphous.
Her work is inspired by the politics of the body and the complexities that surround identity and difference. Omuku states, “With every journey, I consider how human beings position ourselves in space in relation to other beings. Foremost on my mind are the ways in which the body needs to adapt in order to belong. It is constantly selecting and gathering its identity, mentally, physically and emotionally.”
Her approach to painting is as a documentation of events that unfold around her; a moment-by-moment embodiment of a non-linear narrative that is translated onto a surface. Her work shows colored anthropomorphic forms, which stand in contrast to the scapes they inhabit. They are based on the supposition that the human figure can be transformed from its present reality; that things can look and be otherwise.
Her work functions as a metaphor alluding to wider themes, one of which is difference: between the sexes, as well as presumed racial differences. She questions the encounter, ‘How do we react when we meet one another? Fear or understand, beckon or flee? ’It is her desire to convey, through drawings and paintings, presences floating through active spaces, presences that have the aspiration of becoming events in their own right.
Completing a BA and MA at the Slade School of fine art, University College London, Omuku has exhibited in the UK, the U.S.A and Nigeria. Her artistic practice has won scholarships and awards, including the British Council CHOGM art award presented by HM Queen Elizabeth II.