It’s easy living day-by-day but if we’re truthful when it comes to working out what we want or tackling the bigger subject of our existence in the universe it’s a hell of a lot harder.
Seeking inner truth and reflection through their art is a familiar hallmark of an artist and resounding themes throughout Kwame Akpokavi’s exhibition ‘Searchers’. Asking questions about one’s self. Showing off your swag and selling yourself to the outer world. Who am I? How do I want the world to see me? Does it matter? Has it already been decided for me?
In our search for meaning we pass many different stages in the cycle of birth and death – like a caterpillar emerging from its warm, safe cocoon into the big, wide world full of change. The artist looks to inherited social constructs of being African and the many signs and symbols synonymous with the culture including people and craft-making.
Employing African trends of flamboyance, individuality and character, he instinctively uses rich, vibrant textiles in his fabric collages. Along with resin Akpokavi has created richly layered compositions with 3D effects, almost bringing to life the characters within his artworks. Even the words printed on the materials themselves convey cultural messages of the ‘highest quality’.
This vibrant exterior of African identity and materialism binds with the fierce inner calling of spirituality, wonder and wellbeing. Eyes observe you as we gaze at their exotic individualism. Yet look deeper and African spirituality calls out to you. Based on self-discovery, fearlessness, a re-connection with nature and freedom from doctrine. Akpokavi asks are you ready to look inward and consider who you really are?
“Religion is belief in someone else’s experience. Spirituality is having your own experience.” Deepak Chopra
On until 23rd March
Warrington Museum & Art Gallery