At Rele Gallery, It’s More Than Just a Game

At Rele Gallery, It’s More Than Just a Game

Yinka Olatunbosun

The rainy Sunday evening ushered in a new solo exhibition at Rele Gallery, Ikoyi by Ameh Agwuh. Around the exhibition halls were works made of graphite largely inspired by the classic indoor game called “Snakes and Ladders.”

The solo show, which is the third from the artist, is a marked deviation from his bright-coloured canvases to present a greyed-out body of works that, among other things, celebrate the resilience of the human spirit.

Using a mixture of lines and images, Agwuh explores the moral values embedded in the famous game to highlight the socio-political issues in his society. The ladders in the game are conceived as symbols of positive virtues and good deeds.

Agwuh who studied fine and applied arts at the Delta State University, Abraka was born and raised in Lagos. At the opening of his show titled “It was meant to be a game,” he discussed the philosophy behind the large size works on display.

“As you walk into the exhibition hall, you can almost tell it is more than just a game,” he began. “I adopted the famous Snake and Ladder Game for the show which is a metaphor for ups and downs in life or the motion through life. I use the snake and ladder game as a soft landing to have various conversations about life.”

One of such issues is a power struggle. In his work with the same title, he spotlights the abuse of power by public servants while exploring the influence of religion on people. The subject matter of power is at the core of global crises, one of which is the spate of sporadic wars between one country and another. The need for dominance over others is another accidental subject in the body of work. “I am also curious about the idea of life and death, light and darkness, virtues and vices.”

Agwuh had always seen himself as an artist, right from his younger years. For him, there was no backlash to his career choice from his parents, and their support has spurred him on until now.

The 22 works curated by Adeoluwa Oluwajoba also include a piece titled “Lovers: The Lift and the Kiss.” This piece alludes to a romantic relationship between a man and a woman which sometimes plays out as a game or more than just a game.

For the artist, the game is a comfort zone to sit and reflect on other serious conversations. In another piece called “Day and Night,” he brings to the fore the consciousness of good and bad times in pursuant to his exploration of the concept of duality.

The show, which opened on October 22, runs until November 26.

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