On the occasion of 1-54 New York 2017 we are pleased to premiere the first exhibition in New York by Nigerian artist Ndidi Emefiele (*1987). A selection of her latest works will be showcased at our booth.
Sympathizing with the front of artist practices reasserting and redefinig gender roles, Emefiele takes a critical view on how society constructs identity in relation to clothing and postural language. Pivotal to her investigation is the rede nition of the female body as shifting from an aura of endless possibilities to the atavistic impulse of self-preservation.
Emefiele uses constructed images to raise questions about masculinity and femininity and how they co-exist in one being. Her characters, their poses and out ts embody a whole set of xed notions of identity - prevalent in Nigeria - that the artist aims at deconstructing.
Her obsession with the female gure has kindled an interest in items that are directly connected to the body or have a close relationship with it. In an attempt to circumvent the mundane process of painting, Emefiele deals with the complications inherent to representing the junction where the body merges into clothing by using collages. Her gures maintain a potent, palpable gaze suggesting deeper level of spirituality. Cultural heritage, ancient roots and ethnical belonging are embedded within Emefiele’s work. Through the depiction of exaggerated heads, said to control and predict one’s destiny, and glasses – another recurring element objectifying the universal quest for shield and protection – the artist digs up her background of symbols and reveals inner weaknesses.
The body of work to be unveiled at 1-54 NY marks a further development in Emefiele’s narrative. Human gures are cast within distinct surroundings which are perceived as tranquil and pecu- liar at the same time - decked tables populated by cut-outs of bewildered insects left to coexist with Instragram meal feeds, sober sofas and interiors, reassuring pools. Characters evoke ease of demeanours, their placid, motionless posture conveying a sense of suffused belonging.