Menu Weh, the third solo exhibition of the painter and sculptor, Nathaniel Hodonu, will open at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos on November 11.
Featuring over 50 paintings, sculptures and assemblages, the show runs till November 24. It’s a one man show, all the way from Badagry that this Lagos- born artist showcases his talent.
Since 2006, Hodonu has been working with coconut shells, plastic bottle caps and wood to make exquisite and durable artworks. The show therefore gives art critics and patrons an opportunity to critically appraise the works and see if the artist has succeeded in his quest.
Asides the artworks, the artist is also exploring the issue of identity with the show, hence the decision to title it Menu Weh? and expose the beautiful cultural values of his Ogu people.
“It is a phrase that can be used to expatiate on one’s identity: who are you, who is that, who is there. It is a question that requires an answer in totality about someone, his culture, way of life, background, cultural values and everything that concerns the person,” he explained in a press statement.
“I used ‘Menu Weh’ to answer the questions about the Ogu people in Badagry and in general their cultural values, heritage and occupation in Nigeria and Africa at large.
The cultural heritage of my people is unique and beautiful; the Sato drum, Zangbeto masquerades, Ajogan dancers, Gangbesi, Hungan drum, Agbato drummers, Pashasi, Kaka and Sekunmeh just to mention a few. Menu Weh? also attempts an answer to questions like, who are we as Nigerians? Why do we cherish imported products over home-made materials? Why do we attach more importance to other people’s cultural values than ours?” The title piece, a coconut shells assemblage, explains the identity of a Badagry person, an Ogu man, his culture and occupation while the Ibi Ori Danisi series of paintings showcase the basic occupation of the Ogu people; living on water, schools and markets on water.
Conversely, “Harmony”, a piece made from bottle caps portrays co- existence among Nigerians while others like “Flower Season” and “Showers of Blessing” does the same.
On his choice of coconut shells for more than 10 artworks in the show, Hodonu said, “It is the only tree that I know with all its parts valuable to mankind. I grew up witnessing the profound contributions of coconut palm to the betterment of many lives. It is without doubt the tree of life.”