Taiye Idahor: ÒKHÙO

God, it has been a long time. My new year resolution was to write more, go to more viewings and I have failed woefully the past 3 months – life happened, folks. But I’m back! And I have an amazing – aren’t they always? – exhibition for you all to see. As always, this is free for all viewing and details shall be left at the end. If you want to purchase a piece for me, contact me!


I first interacted with Idahor’s work back in 2016 at the first Art X Lagos fair – which was outstanding by the way. I didn’t get a chance to really question her techniques and methods on creating her pieces as you hardly get the opportunity to speak with artists in that kind of surrounding, so when I saw that Tyburn Gallery was bringing Idahor to London, I did all I could to make sure I attended the private viewing but alas, life happened yet again! A month later and I finally took myself to see what tremendous pieces Idahor had brought for us from Lagos, and I was not left disappointed. First, a brief profile on Taiye Idahor.

Taiye Idahor

Idahor was born in 1984 in Lagos, Nigeria and is also currently based there. Those who are familiar with Nigerian names and culture may already be able to tell that Idahor is an Edo name. Thus, Idahor uses her pieces and sculptures to magnify her heritage to the ancient empire of Benin City. Her medium, diverse as ever, ranges from sculptures and collages to drawings which she uses to express, from her perspective, the female African identity.

ÒKHÙO

The title of this exhibition translates to ‘Woman’ from the Edo language. Below is a short excerpt from the description of the exhibition by Tyburn Gallery:

“Idahor presents a reflection on women and power through the iconic figure of the Iyoba, mother of the king of Benin City. The position of Iyoba (…) remains a title of high rank within the Bini royal hierarchy. (…) the Iyoba’s traditional regalia involves an elaborate ensemble of coral beads. The beads have become a symbolic representation of women’s authority and influence.”

Obosa, 2017 (Top left), Oghogho, 2017 (Bottom) and Okunsogie, 2017.

Peep me in the background! Back to these beautiful pieces, the process of making these must be tiresome for Idahor. Or not. She, according to the gallery assistant I spoke with, tends to start off by photographing models wearing the coral beads to which she then cuts out their faces and is left with just a print of the beads.

Nomase (2017)

The strands of, what looks like hair on these pieces in some instances, are actually newspapers woven together. It’s truly something spectacular that you ought to see face to face. Moreover, what looks like floral patterns are detailed black spirals that Idahor intended to mimic nature. IMG_2973

Ehimwenma (2017)

I am in awe of Idahor’s work – mesmerised by intricate details that can easily go unrecognised. Be sure to check out this wonderful exhibition at Tyburn Gallery which is situated at 26 Barrett St, Marylebone, London W1U 1BG. The closest station is Bond Street. You have until the 9th of May 2018 to view ÒKHÙO and hopefully, i might bump into one or more of you there again!

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