A STRANGER IN MY HOME
Curated by Usen Esiet
Intricate compositions, reoccurring neon masks and vibrant colours take centre stage in Osadebe’s new body of work: A Stranger In My Home. In these works, rich traditions of interior paintings, where objects such as sofas, flowers, lamps, paintings and the occasional figurative, are present. However, Osadebe pushes the boundaries forward by infusing aesthetics inspired by his Nigerian heritage, which results in 10 colourful canvases depicting his translation of the world today.
The new works juxtapose Nigeria’s rich art history with contemporary art through Osadebe’s unconventional compositions, palette and narratives. In this series, Osadebe is rooted in the home, where the characters are adorned in traditional masks and attire; inhabiting a modern setting seen in the interior design, style, and their separate professions. As Osadebe takes on in this series the idea of globalisation and how cultures intersect today, he thereby reinforces the idea of urban living hybrids.
Central to the theme is the use of identical masks as opposed to space helmets which Osadebe used in his previous series. The masks are inscribed with traditional symbols pertaining to regions in Nigeria, where the artist is from. The characters adorned with the masks embody a sophisticated level of humour while employing a refined graphic language marked by bold gestures and a playful intricacy. As these said characters carry out chores, play around and set out for activities in Osadebe’s imagined home setting, they contemplate. One cannot help but wonder if these depictions visually symbolise Osadebe reflecting on his introverted indoor life, as the artist steps away from space and outer earth, which are themes in his past series.
Osadebe’s past series share a common focus in exploring the idea of mixing traditional materials and crafts with new media. In A Stranger In My Home, Osadebe’s adjacency of traditional and modern is simultaneously bright, energetic and meditative.
* Usen Esiet is an independent curator based in New York, USA.