Bey, Nkem and Elechi: A Triangulation
Amir Bey, Grace Nkem and Obinna Elechi
Bey, Nkem and Elechi: A Triangulation juxtaposes three artists who each have their particular relationship to African culture. Amir Bey is an African-American sculptor. Grace Nkem is a Russian-Nigerian painter. Obinna Elechi is a Nigerian artist and designer who also creates comic books.
In setting the works of the three artists in dialogue, the show A TRIANGULATION draws lines between the common themes in their practices. “The influence of traditional African art, craft, and ritual in the development of modern art cannot be overstated— but a more poignant conversation is the current resurgence of African culture by artists from the African diaspora.”, say co-curator Grace Nkem and Arabella von Arx.
Arabella von Arx, co-curator of the show, is the founder of Gallery Particulier, a nonprofit gallery in Brooklyn. Her background as an art critic, and as a film and media producer translates into a focus on promoting the visual arts in New York City in creative ways.
About the Artists
Amir Bey is a New York City-based mixed-media sculptor whose practice is heavily invested in the human form’s connection to the spiritual world. Bey’s use and treatment of bodies transfigures them into spiritual monuments, both to the living and departed. His choice of materials and technique is partially rooted in traditional African craft, particularly his style of wood-carving (harkening to the solid woodwork of the Senufo peoples), use of soapstone, and bronze cast figures.
Obinna Elechi is a Nigerian-born, Dutch-Raised, and NYC-based artist and designer with a practice focused on narratives— what is told, and what is left out of history. Influenced by Nigerian folklore and origin stories, Elechi had produced an evocative visual language of his own. Combined with his decidedly afro-futurist bent, Elechi seems to be speculating about what is to come, embracing possibilities.
Grace Nkem, a Russian-Nigerian painter based in Brooklyn, is fixated on the idea of our imaginary. Traditional African sculptures and ritual objects feature heavily in her work, often as stand-ins for a subject, or as eyes that may reflect the viewer’s own gaze. Nkem’s dreamlike work has the overall gestalt of a Wunderkammer, presenting viewers with a surreal vision of our subconscious fixations.