We recently had the pleasure of attending the opening evening for the exhibition 'Fragments of Reality' by Nigerian artist Ken Nwadiogbu, presented by Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery and co-curated by Retro Africa Founder, Dolly Kola-Balogun. Those familiar with Ken Nwadiogbu himself will know that his energy was as vibrant as his art, setting the tone for a truly remarkable experience.
The exhibition, which opened on Saturday, October 7th, features 12 new paintings and an installation that invites audiences to dive into Nwadiogbu's personal experience as an artist and a migrant in a foreign country. Migrating from Nigeria to London has played a pivotal role in shaping Nwadiogbu’s creative process, which explores abstract expression and employs a vibrant primary colour palette of red, blue, green, and yellow. These colours evoke a profound sense of nostalgia, reminding him of home and the emotions associated with it while drawing inspiration from thermographic cameras, which detect heat energy through infrared radiation.
'Fragments of Reality' is a visual exploration of images captured in London by the artist, aligning with the experiences and challenges faced by black immigrants in the UK. “Sometimes staged, sometimes serendipitous, these images play a significant role within my artwork. The composition of these visuals on the canvas is a fluid and ever-evolving process” Ken tells us, creating a visual narrative that unravels the essence of what is crucial within the image. This exploration delves into how history is preserved and documented while examining the individuals who author and shape the information we consume today.
Ken Nwadiogbu's artistic prowess extends beyond the canvas, as seen in his recent collaborations with esteemed brands, such as GANT for their "Blank Canvas" collection, which fuses elements from his roots in Nigeria with his artistic movement "Contemporealism." He also participated in an exhibition called "Portrait Of A Top Boy," curated by Ronan McKenzie, in collaboration with Netflix and Intermission films.
As you explore "Fragments of Reality," you embark on a profound journey through the artistry of choice, the symphony of colour, and the labyrinthine corridors of memory. “In some sense, this body of work delves into the intricate fabric of memory and its ephemeral nature. Memories, we find, are not faithfully preserved in their entirety, but rather exist as fragments, lingering remnants of experiences that continue to shape our reality" says Ken.
‘Fragments of Reality’ is open to the public at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, 2 Melior Place, London, United Kingdom, from 7th October. Be sure to visit and immerse yourself in Ken Nwadiogbu's unique artistic journey.