Udemba’s Art Activates New Temple Muse Flagship Store


Yinka Olatunbosun

One of Nigeria’s finest creative export to Germany, EmekaUdemba is parading his recent collection in an exhibitiontitled, “A Question of Being.” Curated by SMO Contemporary Art, the show marked the opening of the new Temple Muse flagship store in Victoria Island.

A Question of Being presents “the vibrancy of hybrid cultures” with reference to race, history, memory, gender, time, and beauty. In these colourful pieces, Udembaexperiments with transparencies, words, printed paper, and textures to create multi-layered portraits. These portraits question the emergence of vibrant multi-cultural communities and a how hybrid identity shape our sense of belonging.

Udemba is an artist of Nigerian descent, who has spent the past 25 years working in his studio in Freiburg, Germany. Through his paintings and installation, he explores the issue of global migration, the need for people to be confident in their race, ethnic roots, and culture, and “not to let ourselves be defined by the strangers’ gaze, but to celebrate the diverse colours of all humanity.”

The new Temple Muse flagship store is purpose built to provide the perfect platform for large art installations. Its expansive walls and new gallery provide space for Udemba’swork, which complements the vibrant cosmopolitan spirit of all things Lagos.

“Our brand new space marks over 11 years of hard work in which we have had the pleasure of showcasing the best of art, design, fashion, decorative accessories and gifts from Nigeria and the globe, as well as many other specially curated events throughout the years,” Avinash Wadhwani, co-founder of the store with his brother Kabir explained. “Udemba’sexhibition is the perfect way of marking this exciting next step, as we recognize many of the artists we have showcased over the years including Chidi Kwubiri, Gerald Chukwuma, Modupeola Fadugba, Kenny Adewuyi, Victor Ehikhamenor, Wura-Natasha Ogunji and many others.”

“I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to curate the walls and spaces of Temple Muse since 2013,” Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, founder and artistic director, SMO Contemporary Art remarked. “I believe Emeka Udemba’swork provides a powerful and insightful next step in this exciting journey of presenting the best of global creativity in the beautiful, multi-functional spaces Temple Muse has to offer.

“I work as multi-disciplinary artist because, like the Igbo adage says “You don’t stand in one place to see a masquerade, you move around it,” commented Emeka Udemba, whose installation of 12 hooded figures is referenced from 14th century Spanish history. “We live in a multi-faceted world today to which we all belong. You see how colourful and sparkly the hoods are? It is playing on the premise of how colourful the world is.”

The exhibition, sponsored by Zircon Marine and Villa Antinori, runs till December 15 at the Temple Muse.