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Ezeigwe deepens monkey business at Alexis Galleries – Guardian Arts – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Yesterday, Alexis Galleries, located on Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, played host to stakeholders in the arts sector as Ikechukwu Ezeigwe’s Monkey Business opened at the facility. The show ends on May 4.

Monkey Business is an intriguing collection of paintings that illuminates the vision of the world around us. The solo exhibition consists of 12 paintings.

One of the paintings, titled Loot, represents the plunder of African heritage and resources by foreign nations. The painting depicts a greedy-looking colonial official ignominiously celebrating looted African artifacts. The painting not only records the loot, but also the repatriation of the artifacts.

Another work, titled Sinister Agenda, describes the two global pandemics the world has experienced – the Spanish Flu (1918) and the COVID-19 (2020) – all involving people painted with heads of different animals.

The painting interrogates the two global pandemics. It depicts the two eras, with pictures in the background pointing out the controversial stories behind the facts surrounding them. The painting represents the two eras figuratively, with the background text simplifying its meaning.

In The Test of a Man, the artist depicts a modified image of “Napoleon Crossing the Alps,” depicting and indicating how a single decision by those in power can shape future events for his people.

The artist, who was part of the gallery-organized group exhibition ‘Fate III’, believes these works will stimulate imagination, change narratives and, most importantly, create awareness.

Director of Alexies Galleries, Mrs. Patty Mastrogiannis, said she looks forward to a sold-out and successful show, saying: Ezeigwe’s paintings are enjoyable works for collectors. The animals painted by Ezeigwe are endangered animals that are not guilty of crimes against humanity.

“He is a young artist with a lot of potential. We did a group show with him in 2022 and it sold out. So I decided to give him a solo. We want to show it to the world.”

According to Adebimpe Owoyemi, curator of the exhibition, “The inclusion of important social issues, politics, social ills and economic topics in art gives art a sense of relevance. Works that challenge societal norms and expectations are created to go beyond aesthetics. Visually representing and addressing controversial issues with intriguing compositions and zoomorphic concepts is what Ezeigwe has portrayed in Monkey Business.”

Owoyemi added: “Ezeigwe likes to attribute an animal character (which can represent a positive or negative visualization) to humans. He believes that there are many similarities that connect people and animals and that it will be unconventional to portray the true character of his figures in a case that will catch everyone’s eye.”

Owoyemi said these works would stimulate imagination, change narratives and most importantly, create awareness on issues we ignore. Read through the lines, colors and the concept of representation.

“I use zoomorphic paintings to describe human characteristics and behaviors,” he said. “Many people know me for it. I have created a niche with it, although I do not limit myself to this art form.”

Ezeigwe’s burgeoning craft was an example of a broader sensibility. He believed that there were many similarities between humans and animals, and that it would be unconventional to portray the true character of his figures in a matter that is conspicuous to all.

“They haven’t done anything, so I wonder why people want them to become extinct,” he said.

He described “The Business of War” “as the economic dimension of war and how weapons sell profit during war, how they try to provoke war just so they can sell weapons and weapons to other countries.”

According to him, “the painting is the reason behind others… power, ambition, control. They are not inherently bad, but if in the wrong hands they can cause a lot of problems. The painting is a modified depiction of ‘Napoleon Crossing the Alps’, depicting and indicating how a single decision by those in power can determine future events for his people.

Ezeigwe, who studied fine arts first at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (now Lagos State University of Education) and later at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, is a prolific painter who carved a niche for himself by adapting his style to to take: the use of animal heads to represent the characters of the people he paints.

The exhibition is sponsored by Coca Cola, Maccalan, Bombay Sappire, Mikano, Art-Cafe, Tiger, UPS, AINA, Blankson Global, The Guardian, Berol, Schweppes, Heir Thermocouple, Nigeria Info 99.3fm and Covranet.