For our maiden participation at Art Basel Hong Kong 2023, Retro Africa is proud to present Always At the Edge, a selection of works by Victor Ehikhamenor. Ehikhamenor’s exploration of diverse media finds vitality.

In his Rosary Series, the enduring syncretism of indigenous and imposed African and European belief systems are re-interrogated in arresting figurative sculptures that are chiefly made from coral beads refashioned into chaplet rosaries.

Ehikhamenor displays an obsessive manipulation of his chosen materials. Ehikhamenor uses motifs within Benin culture and the catholic faith, offering insight into how culture, symbolism, religion and nature are best brought to life.

Victor’s art process is a re-telling of an accumulated constructed, other worldliness of pictorial stories of many veracities. These works in their different shapes and styles approach the use of traditional material from the atypical corner of a storyteller. The art proposes that the artist’s canvas can stretch his/her narratives farther than the restraining corners of stretcher bars. What would a painting on a sculpturally constricted canvas look like? What ancient tales would a hand- made paper perforated with nails tell? Will a free- flowing extra-large canvas, filled with borrowed signs and symbols from the walls of Benin village shrines and sacred altars, tell the story of a cherished yet divided childhood? Encountering the works will answer some of these questions but it will also send viewers into further phantasma journey filled with their own interrogations.

For this reason, Always At the Edge is an instructive synecdoche of Nigerian and Benin art. History, events and humans often put strands of narratives before us, calling us to retell stories in curious ways. We react with caution but often times exaggerate our claims to the past, delving into reconstruction of memories documented mentally, some vivid and many flimsy. As these narratives are espoused by one storyteller and then another, from one generation to the other, they become elastic and magical, sometimes contentiously constructed. Elasticity guarantees that an experience can be at once phantasmal as it is of a present moment, as well as a form that is shapely in its shapelessness.

Supposing, then, we are presented with art and letters that begin with this premise, pointing to alternative narratives? To fuse and interfuse stories with the written word ,heard and imagined, draw/paint belligerent and Artist Information Project Information benevolent art seen and dreamt of everyday? One has no choice but to obey and that obedience to tell it all is what inform the basis of Victor’s various art forms over the years. And here is where his art meets history, memory, and contrived politics of our today’s world.
And here is where our booth, Always At the Edge, meets art which meets history, memory, ecology and Nigerian heritage. Retro Africa invites you to embark on this aesthetic and conceptual journey into contemporary African thought and expression. Featuring entire new bodies of work, our booth will display a carefully curated selection of Ehikhamenor’s rosaries. From concept to exhibition each wall will display the stories untold within his practice, each piece created with the intention to ensure narrative continuity.


Hong Kong

Media Coverage

Featured Artist(s)





No items found.