Still waters

If one were to ask why all these works are together, the answer would not come perfectly formulated. But there is something that is clearly perceived and it is the natural and unforced co-existence of the different pieces. Obiageli Okigbo says that the idea was just that – to come together – and that she only discovered the place occupied by her work among the other works thanks to the curatorship of artist Otobong Nkanga. ‘Curatorship’, although perhaps that definition would be limiting; there is something performative, creative in this assemblage of artists (Otobong Nkanga + Oroma Elewa, Bill Kouélany, Obiageli Okigbo and Adéolá Olágúnjú in the exhibition entitled «Togethering» at the gallery In Situ in Romainville, Grand Paris). It is a togethering as with music (Grover Washington Jr. and Kenny Burrell?), a closeness, from which new affinities emerge. It does not submit to the immediacy of speech or the need for it which often leads us to understand before seeing, with all that is lost there. Obiageli Okigbo’s paintings attend to something timeless, she herself can say that she is interested in the time where all times meet, in retelling myth, in telling first. Taking icons, murals, photographs as a reference and her own personal history – they are the still waters where those times converge.

Landscapes of my chilhood remembered (2015) Triptych – The clearing. Oil on canvas, powder pigment, collage. Courtesy of Obiageli Okigbo.