A visual art group exhibition, themed A New Kind of Alchemy is being held from 21 to 27 February at “Untitled”, 59 Raymond Njokwu Street, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The show is curated by Michael Enejison and organized by Cultural Intellectual Association, Lagos and Whitespace Creative Agency, Lagos. Participants include Bruce Onobrakpeya, Damilola Tejuosho, Dare Adenuga, Dilomprizulike (Junkman from Africa), Ezennia Onyinye, Muyowa Akinmolere, Ola-Dele Kuku, Olanrewaju Tejuoso, Omokayode Bakare, Phillips Nzekwe and Tobi Animashaun.
At different times people and cultures have been obsessively engaged with finding answers to the difficult questions of identity and destination. Questions and problems are two instigators of civilization. Finding solutions and answers advance every civilization building upon the progress of the preceding one.
In A New Kind of Alchemy, artists will use the phenomenon of alchemy – an early form of science, as a metaphor for discovery and solution. Those who practiced it wished to turn base metals like iron and copper into precious ones like gold and mercury. They also wanted to discover medicine that would cure all ailments and keep people forever young. The earliest origin of alchemy can be traced to Egypt in the first few centuries of AD. It spread to other parts in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, although sometimes originating independently. The earliest alchemists associated their practice with mysticism, esoteric knowledge, spirituality and keenly guarded their discoveries and path to knowledge.
The legacy of the practice of alchemy was the establishment of a way to see and a way of thinking. Alchemy also led to the birth of chemistry as we know it today. Artisans and artist were engaged to forge apparatus and design symbols for cult communication. Artists and artisans became alchemists. This exhibition will explore how artists in our time have attempted to formulate answers and solutions to modern challenges such as rapidly evolving technologies, climate change and the best political adjustments for social justice.
What indigenous ideologies, processes, thought and principles can be adopted to solve these universal puzzles? Alchemy becomes a backdrop for how artists go about this quest- explore, tell stories,dream, imagine and create.