Retro Africa is delighted to present Journey Mercies: A Migration Symphony, a solo presentation of works by Nigerian artist Ken Nwadiogbu. Ken’s new body of colourful conceptual works mix hyperrealism with contemporary elements, addressing black representation, identity, displacement, and socio-political control. The curated display will be shown at Booth FC28 in the Focus Sector from 19 – 21 January 2024. Through his work, Ken Nwadiogbu delves into his personal experiences while also offering a social commentary on the experiences of others. Each theme that arises from these experiences play a pivotal role in shaping his creative process. Ken Nwadiogbu commences his creative process by exploring abstract expression, employing vibrant primary colours such as red, blue, green and yellow. This colour palette evokes a profound sense of nostalgia, reminding him of home and the emotions associated with it. Each painting invites us to immerse ourselves in a world where human figures entangle and submerge within his web of colors, while hyperrealist faces and eyes hand drawn with charcoal, serve as portals to the depths of the souls of the characters depicted. The bold cadence of colors immerses the viewer in a world teeming with intensity and emotion, mirroring the dynamism of migration. Central to Nwadiogbu’s artistic narrative are the eyes—the windows to the soul—that hold a particular fascination for the artist. In select paintings, where the hyper realistic figures gaze directly at the viewer, their eyes are rendered with meticulous precision using oil paint. Serving as portals to the very depths of the soul, these eyes utilise the artist's interest in thermographic cameras which capture memories as energy imprints, transcending the confines of time and space. Nwadiogbu’s paintings will accompanied by a towering box installation of various colors, adorned with the painted faces of lost, saved, and hopeful migrants. Standing as silent sentinels, which embody the resilience and indomitable spirit of those on migratory paths, each box becomes a vessel of collective stories, intricately intertwined with the vibrant brushstrokes of hope and longing.



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