Wednesday morning, Bob-Nosa Uwagboe shocked everybody, including
me, when he shared the poster of his slated solo
exhibition entitled Obituary. One cannot
but question: why does the artist from Edo State prefer such a controversial
the artist, immediately they saw Obituary,
some people began to pray for him that his family would not mourn this
season! To the artist, however, Obituary
is only figurative. Yet, not a few would snap: some morbid taste of the
figurative! But the artist remained unfazed.
the Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, graduate of visual arts, "has been
perceived as a forbidden theme by the faint-in-the-heart. But then for an
artist, who is totally free and have arrested his fears, Obituary is
the most appropriate theme for this show," he insists.
main reason for choosing the theme, he says “is also in a
way to mourn those who have lost their lives due to the consequence of
poor leadership in Africa.”
art has been scrutinised by many and the response has not always been
pretty. "Take this rubbish out of my sight!" was one of such flashing
rebukes, from a livid respondent.
agrees that was harsh -- indeed, the cruellest putdown his art had had to
endure. He also confesses it could have stifled the artistic muse of one
less adept at handling criticisms, no matter how savage or violent, for it was
in the early years.
the artist says such critiques helped him to hanker down at his art, knowing
that most people used their conventional attitudes to judge his rather
unorthodox art. Today, however, thanks to Uwagboe's persistence, more and
more people are accepting his art, even if even many still feel some discomfort
in his unorthodox artistic themes and subjects.
Inhumanity to man in Africa by African
explanation forced a further question-and-answer, to explore what fires
Uwagboe's artistic essence:
What inspires you?
high level of inhumanity is my major influence.
I see a lot of naked subjects for
this upcoming exhibition, what is the message?
is one of the provocative elements that keep recurring in my work as a way
of pushing my out bitterness about what is happening in our
society today, especially minors being raped on a daily basis. This is heart-breaking
because I’m a father.”
What is your reply to those who do not understand the theme of
your coming show and are in a hurry to condemn it?
understand Obituary is such a heavy word am working with....
But I only try my best to project my artistic intentions. But
after, if you still don’t agree
with me, it is none of my business.
this exhibition with a strong theme, the artist will showcase about 30 works. Why did
it take him seven years to have another solo after Homme Libre in
2011 at the African Artists Foundation?
years," Uwagboe maintains, "is not a long time for an artist
to have another solo show except if it is a commercially driven show.”
exhibition opens on Saturday, November 24 to Sunday, December 2.
2018 at Signature Beyond Art Gallery, Lagos.
The victim of human merchants
of the title of the works as revealed by the artist are: Human
Merchandise in Libya, Walking Away, Waka,
Obituary, Yeye Man, Dying in Power, Stranded
About the artist
Bob-Nosa Uwagboe was
born in 1974 in the ancient city of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria. He
received his professional education
at Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, where he graduated
with a Higher National Diploma (H.N.D) in 2004, specializing in painting.
a full-time studio artist. After a brief stay in Abuja, he
relocated to Lagos to set up a studio he calls The Protest Art
Studio, to explore his creative energy into an experimental path that
has resulted into thought-provoking themes; and often times, sparks of anger,
pain, passion and vision, not often defined by the subject matters; and that
defy the border usually set by artistic canons. He evokes emotion with his art
in which he employs diverse materials seemingly unconnected at first. But
he often succeeds in challenging the audience to deeper engagement,
with his works, from which there are varied interpretation and reflection,
mostly concerned with issues of falsehood, deception, bad leadership and
reaching to the unreached.