ANTHONY AZEKWOH: THERE IS A COUNTRY
2 OCTOBER - 3 NOVEMBER
Yenwa Gallery is pleased to present,There Is a Country. Anthony Azekwoh’s second solo exhibition. This exhibition unfolds the multifaceted narrative of contemporary Nigeria, illuminating its contrasts and resiliencies. It’s a harmonious dialogue between the tumultuous past and the aspirational present, acting as a gateway to the Nigeria that should be, with each piece delving deep into unspoken narratives and historical reflections.
This multidimensional exploration begins with the pivotal Lekki Tollgate Shooting, a symbol of collective trauma and awakening. Azekwoh’s oeuvre revitalizes Chinua Achebe’s lamentation, “There Was a Country,” portraying a hopeful resonance amongst the digitally connected yet seemingly dislocated youth of today. In an era marked by emigration in pursuit of better opportunities, Azekwoh delves into historical recollections and current realities, affirming, “There Is a Country.”
Azekwoh’s oeuvre is striking, both in its visual richness and its conceptual depth; the largest piece “No Victor No Vanquished/The Last Day of Biafra” is not merely a reflection, but a monumental acknowledgment of historical sorrow and unspoken pain. The expansive scale of the work is reflective of the magnitude of the history it represents, granting space to a narrative often uppressed and unaddressed for fear of eliciting outrage.
“Flag” embodies a juxtaposition of national pride and profound grief, mirroring the inherent dichotomy of Nigeria’s essence. “...And Proud” echoes the resilience and strength within diverse sexualities, challenging societal and moral narratives. "Animal Talk" series employs metaphors inspired by Orwell’s Animal Farm, and local societal figures, elucidating the prevailing hypocrisies and paradoxes within societal pillars like politicians and pastors.
These paintings, situated within digital and physical spaces, encapsulate a harmonious dialogue between past and present, depicting the resilient spirit of the youth. It’s not just an artistic revelation but a proclamation and a gateway to the Nigeria that should be, bringing forth the narratives of the silenced and painting the hopes of a generation seeking acknowledgment and reform