Six Draughtsmen highlights the diverse drawing practices of six artists. Arguably the oldest of all mediums, drawing has evolved to redefine and expand its parameters in this increasingly experimental era of contemporary art. Navigating somewhere between the traditions of the past and an imagined future, contemporary drawing both embraces and challenges drawing conventions in medium, surface and concept.
In the past fifteen years, there has been a surge of critical discourse on contemporary and experimental drawing, but artists of African descent have been disproportionately absent from the international discussion. The work of many pioneer Nigerian artists shows evidence of a strong historical connection to drawing. Currently, however, drawing in a Nigerian context has primarily been designated a preparatory exercise rather than being recognized as a finished medium.
Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, Toyin Odutola, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Nnenna Okore and Odun Orimolade are six artists of Nigerian descent who explore aspects of drawing in their current practices both in Nigeria and in the U.S. Though most of the artists primarily practice in the U.S., at the time this exhibition was conceived, five of the six women found themselves actively engaged in a studio practice in Nigeria. Aside from those who only draw, participating artists also identify as installation artists, performance and video artists, mixed media artists and sculptors. Yet through their various mediums, all are intrinsically invested in a dialogue with drawing; both two dimensionally as well as taking mark-making, line, erasure / transparency, memory and process, off the page and into three dimensional space.
This exhibition is curated by artist Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze as part of her culminating research for the Fulbright Scholars Program in Nigeria. From August 2012 to June 2013, Amanze joined the faculty as a resident artist in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria.