Alex Nwokolo’s new series of faces, ‘Tribal’ is a throwback to his early days. Nwokolo in the 90s was direct, primal and bold. In his early Aso Ebi paintings he found a way to direct this bold palette to tell the tale of colourful, beautifully attired women at Lagos events.
He started the face paintings a decade or so ago. The first one was done mainly as an exploration of colour and texture. He found it intriguing, different from anything he was doing, and decided to explore that path further.
Through colour and texture, he created portraits of these men who seemed distant yet familiar, aloof yet vulnerable.
The more recent faces are different – more direct. In the tribal artworks, he presents men with bold tribal scarification. The men carry their marks with dignity and grace, comfortable in their skin.
The characters are defiant, confident. Yet also vulnerable. For Nwokolo it’s a complicated exploration of finding one’s space in the world as well as the complicated African paradox of assertiveness covering a layer of fear and vulnerability.
We also have new artworks by Ben Enwonwu, Uzo Egonu, Kolade Oshinowo and Ablade Glover.