At New Rele Gallery, Contemporary Artists Converge for ‘Subtle Textures’

Away from the trim view at its former Lagos Island exhibition space, Rele Gallery has upscaled the visual art experience with the new space in Ikoyi and an inaugural exhibition titled ‘Subtle Textures.’ Yinka Olatunbosun writes

Rele new art gallery has changed lanes: first, at Lagos Island, now at a bigger space in Ikoyi. The gallery is exhibiting a sublime array of art collections from contemporary artists from Kelani’s artistic statement on social and political events to Papa Omotayo’s architectural full fledged real drawings to the ethereal smoke drawings of Sedireng Mothibatsela. 

The group exhibition titled, ‘Subtle Textures’ featuring works by six artists namely Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Osi Audu, Annick Kamgang, Sedireng Mothibatsela, Kelani Abass and Papa Omotayo, explores the generative qualities of drawing and line in creating composite forms and spheres of knowledge. The exhibition, scheduled to last for five weeks, is targeted at attracting arts lovers to appreciate arts collections from Nigeria and Africa.

The founder of Rele Gallery, Adenrele Sonariwo, a Nigerian art dealer said the move to a bigger space became imperative as their former place at Onikan became too small for the art shows. 

In her words, “This move is reflective of our goal and we wanted a much bigger space, our former space at Onikan is narrow and smaller. Our artists now have an opportunity to explore bigger space and it really helps the depth of their works as well. We are also growing; it’s been seven years. We love Onikan, it will always be a home for us.

“The artists are the reason why we are moving; we are inspired by them. The patronage is important too. Our mission from the beginning is that we want to trigger a new audience, more people appreciating arts from Nigeria.”

Adeoluwa Oluwajoba, the curator of the show remarked that the title, ‘subtle texture’ was chosen for the group exhibition due to the form of artistic works the space represents. He added that the works were not particularly new, some of the works he said are old art works except for the new medium which they occupy now.

“Subtle texture was particularly obtained from this artistic fluid process. Drawings come in different forms like sketches and actual full-fledged drawings. Looking at the idea of drawing on a fluid medium thinking about the gallery space itself. 

“The works are not particularly new. These are works the artists have for quite a while but some of the works are recent works. We are not talking about newness in terms of work but the medium.” he stated.

The young artist also shared his journey into curating and how working in different space has exposed him to a lot of contemporary Nigerian artists.

“After the exhibition I want to engage more artists in more diverse media and materials. We are looking at showcasing more paintings, experimental works just to see how far we can push criticality in contemporary Nigerian art. It has been an interesting one because initially, I set out as an art writer, and it’s been a little tasking. Working in different spaces has exposed me to a lot of artists, especially in Lagos. There are a lot of vibrant contemporary artists and engaging with these artists has exposed me to different parts of contemporary arts.” Oluwajoba said.

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