“Underdogs”: A solo exhibition
Private view: 09th October
Time: 6pm – 9pm
Location: 33 Museum Str. Bloomsbury,
09th – 22nd October
Mok Space Gallery is proud to present renowned Cameroon/Britsh artist and social activist Adjani Okpu-Egbe’s solo exhibition “Underdogs” which is the artists second ‘body of work’ and the first ever to be exhibited in public.
Following last year’s success of “The Underdog” and “The Journey of the Underdog” Adjani is rounding off the third show of the series with new paintings and installations stimulated by social change. Drawing inspiration from recent police brutality against African Americans and the current refugee crisis in Europe, London-based Adjani’s work highlights the social issues of the ‘underdogs’ in society to garner support for social activism. Emphasis is laid on specially selected events and individuals whom the artist considers as “Underdogs” and who by contrast have directly and or indirectly used their ‘underdog’ status to turn things around for the betterment of the greater good.
Using his unique style of mixed media, Adjani’s piece “Michael Brown meets Eric Garner” (based on the story of two African American men murdered by members of the US police in 2014) compels us to ponder on the similarities of the circumstances that led to their death and the consequences that ensued.
The artist is also fascinated by Barak Obama’s spirit of resilience and calm in overcoming adversity and in dealing with powerful Opponents who are determined to see him fail. Adjani summarises the difficulties of Presidents Obama’s presidency in “Obama vs Mammoths”, a 90×70 cm mixed media work on 400 gsm Waterford paper. The piece depicts depicts an abstract expressive figure of President Obama carrying a Mammoth on his head. The fact tha Adjani used a Mammoth which is extinct rather than an elephant suggest that Obama’s opponents are playing ‘out of date egocentric politics’ which is not of benefit to the common American citizen.
Emphasis is laid on specially selected events and individuals whom the artist consider as “Underdogs” and which by contrast have directly and or indirectly use their ‘underdog’ status to turn things around for the betterment of others.
“It is unbelievable that a name like Eric Garner who was murdered by police on the streets of New York, is now associated with a potential multi-million dollar project as Hollywood prepares to cash in on his story,” Adjani says. “However, documentaries, films and the social media has helped to highlight racial relationships – especially between African Americans and the police – which in turn has greatly contributed to the introduction of new
laws, to the benefit of future generations.
According to Adjani, in a world that is continuously evolving and mixing up culturally, tolerance is the key to a peaceful co-existence and every opportunity should be taken to promote it. He believes that sensitisation through art is vital in helping to throw light on different social issues and dialogue and social activism which play an indispensable role in putting pressure on politicians to address these issues.
“‘Underdogs’ are definitely forcing us to take actions against abusers of power and at the same time inspiring creatives to spread their stories via diversed media around the world,” maintains Adjani, “underdogs tell stories and execute dreams, top dogs listen to stories and execute missions.”
Adjani’s Mission for Charity:
Adjani’s first art teacher suffered from albinism and died from skin cancer in 1998. As a result the artist is the founder of the solidarity group “Titans4albinos”, whose mission is to spread awareness about albinism, and raise funds to help improve the welfare of albino’s in his home country Cameroon and other parts of Africa.
Adjani also supports UK based charity Standing Voice funds derived from the sale of selected signed prints and posters during the “Underdogs” show will be donated to the charity to support their work in ending human rights abuses against people with albinism in
Standing Voice meets the needs of people with albinism holistically through advocacy at local, national and international levels, provision of health care and educational services as well as community development initiatives.
Across the continent of Africa people with albinism face unimaginable social isolation, stigmatisation and discrimination ranging from abandonment and exclusion from educational and life-saving health services to witchcraft fuelled violent mutilation and murder. The following video shows an investigation into the use of the body parts of people with albinism in witchcraft practice http://youtu.be/9F6UpuJIFaY
Please support Adjani’s course online via “Just Giving” by donating through this link: https://www.justgiving.com/Adjani-OKPU-EGBE
About The Artist:
Adjani is a former Combat Human Resource Specialist for the British Army and a BBC Queens Diamond Jubilee commissioned artist.
He has been featured on: CNN, Bloomberg TV, TV5 Monde Paris, Financial Times London, Beau Arts Paris and Kuwait Times.
Adjani has exhibited in London, New York, Los Angeles, Brussels and Cameroon where in 2012, he was invited by The British High Commissioner as an Honourary guest artist to exhibit for the 13th Commonwealth Week celebrations. The artist’s work can be found in highly respected collections around the world.
Contacts for more information:
Facebook: Adjani OKPU-EGBE