• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
businessday logo


PieceUnique debuts in art scene with Contact Zone, inaugural exhibition

PieceUnique debuts in art scene with Contact Zone, inaugural exhibition

PieceUnique, a new agency dedicated to African art, has launched into the global visual art scene with an inaugural exhibition at Cromwell Place, London.

Titled ‘Contact Zone’, the exhibition opened on June 3, 2024 with a private view, which equally marked the inauguration of PieceUnique, a new artist agency dedicated to supporting and empowering African artists.

The exhibition features new works by Oluwole Omofemi, Elfreda Fakoya, and Blebo, each offering a unique perspective and a powerful message that delves into the concept of intersubjectivity: the exploration of the intersections of an artist’s experience, sentiments, and perspectives of the world they live and create in. Through their own unique interior language Omofemi, Fakoya, and Blebo all embody a recognition of authorship, knowing that their work is both a preservation of the individual self and a conservation of collective identity.

Omofemi presents three new paintings, featuring Beauty, a painting, which is part of a series that poignantly explores the inherent grace and resilience embodied by African women. Omofemi elaborates: “I delved into the duality of beauty and pain, intertwining the profound struggles and triumphs experienced by African women. By portraying the natural beauty of African women, the artwork serves as a powerful ode to strength, dignity, and the enduring allure of the human spirit.”

Blebo is a Ghanaian artist who resides and works in Ada-Accra. He is fascinated by his environment, as he draws inspiration wherever he finds himself, from cities, urban centres, villages, markets, lorry stations. He investigates nature, the memory of the material, natural architecture, and humankind’s relationship with the environment. Primarily working with drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation as a point of entry into his exploration of geological formation and architecture, he raises questions about how artwork is viewed. For this exhibition, he presents works that delve into the concept of biomimicry, using it as a lens to explore the textures of the skin and their connection to the passage of time and memory. Through a unique process inspired by childhood play, Blebo taxidermizes the skin, employing techniques such as printing and frottaging on paper that has been placed on ruined architecture. The method serves to spotlight, preserve, and document the collective memory or “skin” of his community. Elfreda Fakoya, a London-based multidisciplinary artist, anchors her work in figurative textile art, drawing from extensive research delving into diasporic cultures, identities, and geography. Her evolving artistic approach combines textiles, repurposed clothing, and acrylics creating a unique “topographic aesthetic”.

Through intricate lines, shapes and patterns mirroring physical map features, she reflects on the emotional and physical journeys across landscapes; encapsulating narratives surrounding family, labour, self-exploration, and travel.

For this exhibition Fakoya presents three new textile works from the series Seeds of Becoming, featuring natural colours found in botanical gardens with organic lines of stitching echoing the topographic effect that runs through all of the artist’s works, signalling the idea of a diasporic self in constant motion yet never displaced. Each work in the series embodies a different chapter in the process of quiet growth and development, presenting a narrative of self-discovery and transformation.

PieceUnique is founded by Oluwole Omofemi, renowned Nigerian artist and Bayo Akande with the aims of uncovering and spotlighting talent from Africa and bringing it to new audiences worldwide, fostering connections and cultural exchanges in and out of the continent. It also offers an all-encompassing consultancy that provides the tools needed for artists to reach their full potential, while preserving their artistic integrity.

Oluwole Omofemi was born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria and has gained international recognition for his paintings that showcase African identity, fashion and culture. In the UK, he is additionally known for his painting of Queen Elizabeth II, which was the last painting of her to be commissioned before her death.

As a visionary artist, Omofemi is committed to using his art as a tool for social change and empowerment. He was inspired to establish PieceUnique with co-founder Bayo Akande, with the mission to uplift and amplify the voices of African artists.

The new agency will offer tailored mentorships and training programmes for artists and host curated exhibitions, both locally and internationally. Omofemi and Akande aim to disrupt the traditional gallery model, enabling artists to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities and working with them to build a strong brand with artistic activations and collaborations that cut across art, fashion and lifestyle.

PieceUnique will release limited edition artist designed collections through its website, with the first drop due to take place in summer 2024. More details will be announced soon.

In addition to the exhibition, Omofemi is currently hosting a residency at his studio in Ibadan, South West, Nigeria, for young artists.

Speaking about the new art agency, Omofemi, artist and co-founder, PieceUnique, said, “I am proud to launch PieceUnique, a new agency dedicated to supporting African artists. With PieceUnique, we aim to empower African creators, showcasing the richness and diversity of African art to inspire global change. We are thrilled to present our first exhibition in London, bridging cultures and bringing African art to global audiences.”

Also speaking on the latest art agency, Bayo Akande, co-founder, PieceUnique, said, “It is with incredible excitement we announce the launch of Pieceunqiue and our opening exhibition with three exceptionally talented artists. Together we look forward to welcoming you all. We are eager to engage audiences in conversations that challenge perceptions, break barriers, and foster a deeper appreciation for the transformative power of African creativity”.

‘Contact Zone’, which opened on June 3, 2024 runs until June 9, 2024 at Cromwell Place, London.