The contemporary artworks of Dina El-Sioufi, Wole Lagunju, Abe Odedina, and Freya Tewelde came together to create the show “Re” at Ed Cross Fine Art. On until December 20th, 2023, the exhibition interacts with the linguistic prefix “Re” serving as a method to interact with the concept of reincarnation and repetition.
Opening its doors in 2009, Ed Cross Fine Art is a gallery in Central London that has engaged in partnerships with emerging and established artists connected to the African diaspora. It facilitates conversations and amplifies the voices of artists, patrons and curious creatives while functioning as a dedicated space for independent artistic growth.
Dina El-Sioufi’s work draws on influences from literature, theatre, music, and poetry and those influences manifest in creating timeless artworks reflecting contemporary sentiments of the world. “The Tannhäuser Dilemma” emerges as a standout piece, drawing inspiration from Richard Wagner’s opera and skillfully painted in a style reminiscent of German expressionism.
In the video installation “Suffocation,” Freya Tewelde commences the performance in a black body suit, symbolising a conceptually blank canvas. As she progressively dons garment after garment, she restricts her mobility, symbolically addressing the non-physical layers individuals bear daily—albeit cultural, emotional, societal, or personal—reflecting the discomfort inherent in navigating these layers.
Wole Lagunju’s talent shines through in his work, skillfully intertwining iconographic references from western fashion with nods to the Renaissance. One standout piece, “Black Girl IV,” parallels the classical masterpiece “Judith Slaying Holofernes,” seamlessly incorporating Black subjects, vibrant colors, and floral patterns into the narrative. Across his body of work, Lagunju skillfully integrates European iconography with Nigerian traditional masks and textiles, creating a narrative that artfully intertwines diverse cultural and historical elements. Lagunju’s art serves as a captivating exploration of the intersections between different worlds, inviting viewers to contemplate the rich complexities inherent in the fusion of cultures and histories within his creations.
“Reappropriating what was stolen, retelling stories with different heroes – in Re, Lagunju unites medium and message, oil paint finding new sitters and retroactively adjusting power structures.”– Artsy
Abe Odedina’s work is often centred around folklore from Western and non-Western backgrounds. In the artwork “Resuscitation of the Golden Goose,” Odedina revisits two distinct characters representing diverse cultures: the titular goose from European folklore and alchemy, and Oya, the Yoruba Orisha responsible for bridging the realms of the living and the dead. His intention is to revive the bird and restore its ability to bestow material wealth.
Abe Odedina’s art weaves together elements from both Western and non-Western folklore. As seen in the piece “Resuscitation of the Golden Goose,” Odedina presents two characters, each with roots in distinct cultures. The first is the goose, drawing from European folklore and alchemy, while the second while the second figure embodies Oya, a Yoruba Orisha goddess recognized for navigating the space between the life and death. This composition represents breathing new life into the goose by Oya, aiming to restore the material wealth associated with it in European folklore.
The exhibition “Re” serves as a compelling showcase of artistic diversity, offering viewers a thoughtful engagement with themes of cultural intersectionality, historical reinterpretation, and the enduring impact of timeless tales.
“Re: Dina El-Sioufi, Wole Lagunju, Abe Odedina, Freya Tewelde,” – 20th December Ed Cross Fine Art