Brought together by ART X Lagos and A White Space Creative Agency – the fair’s associated curators of interactive projects – Creative Director Bubu Ogisi and multimedia artist Yadichinma Ukoha-Kalu find themselves working together for the first time, engaging with the idea of ‘Play as Creation’.
Out of this dynamic pairing comes what Ogisi describes as “a textile print playground.” This whimsical take on artfulness is underpinned by hers and Ukoha-Kalu’s dual desire to enlighten an international audience to the history and heritage of local pattern-making techniques through experimentation. “We’re re-educating people on symbols and signs and making them modern,” says Ogisi. “People will be able to design their own print; maybe with reference to symbols and patterns that have existed in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.”
From these harmoniously produced pieces, the fair’s visitors will be encouraged to make their own products – an organic series of collections that sits well with Ogisi’s process of working. There’s nothing new in this type of production for Ogisi, who is also behind the rapidly growing I Am Isigo fashion brand. What is slightly different is her close interaction with other people. “I usually like to run and hide away while I’m producing,” she admits, “but now people will have a chance to make their own items with me while I’m there.”
Ukoha-Kalu also brings her own brand of visual and tactual style to the partnership. With typography being part of her ART X Lagos interaction with Ogisi, there is an opportunity for Ukoha-Kalu to weave in some very specific design influences. “I enjoy learning about traditional scripts such as nsibidi,” she says, referencing the ancient system of graphic communication associated with southeastern Nigeria and the Cross River region. Ukoha-Kalu’s work is as much about public forums as it is about systems, techniques, and mechanisms for making art. “I like having people witness artwork as it happens, to imagine being creators,” she says, alluding to the collaborative experience that she and Ogisi will bring to the fair.
Finding ways to re-approach African textiles
Interestingly, both artists were on the road in the lead-up to the showcase. Ogisi, in particular, spends much of her time travelling and “finding ways to re-approach African textiles,” with historical research forming much of her creative ethos. It therefore seems that the geographical fluidity that will form part of the essence of the ‘playground’ of textiles that both she and Ukoha-Kalu are devising comes as an extension of Ogisi’s internationalist philosophy: “to tap into the whole continent is the only way for us to unite, and to stop us thinking of our countries as better than others.”
An article by Nana Ocran
Featured Image : IAMISIGO SS19, mask by Chioma Ebinama, 2019.
This article was written for The Art Momentum | ART X Lagos 2019 Artpaper. [French version inside]
Articles are published in their original language | Les articles sont publiés dans leur langue d’origine