Debuting February 4, 2012 at the Lamont Bishop Gallery in Washington, DC,the 20 images capture the exuberance of the United States’ most significant musical export since jazz. Demonstrating a masterful use of graphite, paint markers, acrylic, spray paint and stencils, Aniekan Udofia epitomizes a sophisticated understanding of the African localization of Western pop culture.
Online PR News – 27-January-2012 – – West African highlife music permeated American-born Nigerian artist Aniekan Udofia’s household when his family moved from Washington DC to Nigeria in the late 1980s. That was until “The Village B-boys” returned from working in the big cities with mix tapes of the latest hip hop. Udofia remembers tracing the sounds of LL Cool J to the boom-box of an old lady pounding corn with a mortar and pestle to the beat. She would explain, “This, this is just some music my grandson brought back from the Lagos.” Off he would run to the market buying a local musician's cassette to record over it with the village b-boy’s mix-tape. This is how hip-hop seeped into his world.
Stoically, he recalls his parents’ distaste for Fela Kuti’s international hit Zombie but passive acceptance of KRS-1’s Black Cop. As record shops emerged Udofia’s attachment to hip-hop’s social commentary on issues such as violence, religion, gender wars and conspicuous consumption fully cemented, molding him into an artist who would tackle these same themes within the visual atheistics of both hip-hop and West Africa art.
Debuting February 4, 2012 at the Lamont Bishop Gallery in Washington, DC, Udofia’s latest series, The Village B-Boy is destined for 10-story walls in Uyo, his hometown in Nigeria, where its true audience will participate, remember and enjoy. The exhibition of over 20 images captures the exuberance of the United States’ most significant musical export since jazz. Demonstrating a masterful use of graphite, paint markers, acrylic, spray paint and stencils, Udofia epitomizes a sophisticated understanding of the African localization of Western pop culture. With eyes that track, smiles that beguile and flowing patterns, the viewer is instantly transported into the hip-hop culture of Udofia’s childhood in Nigeria. An intimate glimpse into simple pleasures such as a new cassingle brought from the capital and shared with friends over a boom-box and pigeon cypher, the collection’s use of bold colors is a nod to Nigerian traditional artistry while the techniques ground the works firmly in a contemporary American style.
In recent years, the art world has rallied around the concept of public art in emerging markets, however the abstract extrapolation of themes seemingly caters to the critic or collector. The Village B-boy is a derivation from this trend. The melding of traditionally inspired wax fabric prints alongside easily identifiable motifs of the golden age of hip-hop give the Western viewer a glimpse into the catholic/ubiquitous spread of slick rhymes over phat beats in beyond US borders. Whether the first time you heard Public Enemy was in Akwa Ibom State, London or New York the textured scenes represented in series will harken cheeky reminiscences days past.