‘A Tale of Shared Experiences’ explores experiences of six artists

...,interrogates gender norms

There have been several efforts in Nigeria to question the designated nature of femininity and masculinity. However, there is still an underlay of stereotypical gender roles and behavioural expectations.

This societal nuance, which has been passed down from one generation to another, expects that the ideology of “what it means to be a man or woman”, or “how a man or woman ought to behave”, should be accepted without any alteration.

Over time, it has become an inherent sacrosanct misconception of maleness and femaleness. Masculinity is often associated with power and strength, whereas femininity is mostly associated with weakness and vulnerability.

These expectations subjugate the liberty of self. As such, it is important to highlight how artists living and working in Nigeria are changing the social trajectory of their immediate community as it relates to issues of gender and identity.

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It is within this context that ‘A Tale of Shared Experiences’, a group exhibition billed for between July 17 and August 31, 2021 at the Artpedia Gallery, Lagos, is exploring the isolated experiences of six artists surrounding stereotypical gender norms and societal expectations in Nigeria.

Through the works of the artists – James Adebayo, Osaru Obaseki, Olamide Ogunade, Joe Obamina, Sophia Azoige, and Victor Olaoye – notions of self, gender, and identity are examined.

The entire exhibition aims to interrogate the socially constructed gender roles, and cultural misconception of gender expressions in our society.

The artists have created works from their personal experiences and encounters to push boundaries of old paradigm thinking about human conditions, stripping off narratives, identifications, and labels the society has placed on people. The works present their own existence; one which opposes mainstream portrayals of masculinity and femininity.

Curated by Nigerian based curator Favour Ritaro, ‘A Tale of Shared Experiences’ is an invitation into a safe space where people can be who they are or want to be. It provides alternative ways of seeing people beyond facades of gender and sexuality.