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Solo show: Kelani Abass

16 October - 21 November 2020


A solo show dedicated to Nigerian artist Kelani Abass.

Entitled Ìrántí, the exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue including an essay by Valentine Umansky.


Born in 1979, lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.


In his work, Kelani Abass explores the importance of the material heritage and the archive as a link between the past and the present. The photographic image is the starting point for a multi-layered plastic work. 


As a creative medium and object of memory, the photographic image is dissected and analysed through the multiplicity of forms that compose it. For his three-dimensional works, the artist uses old portrait photographs, original or reproduced in paint, which he retrieves from the archives inherited from his father's publishing business. Metal typefaces and other elements from the world of printing are added to these compositions. The relationship to memory and the importance of the archive assumes another dimension in his graphic work, where he recreates the image by repeated imprints applied with an ink pad. 

Kelani Abass thus brings to light these fragile and personal testimonies of a past time in Nigeria celebrating its independence. In this study of the "manufacture" of the image, the latter appears in its essential function as a support for memory - a fragmentary and multiple memory, rewritten and reassembled by the artist's hands.


Trained at the Yaba College of Technology in Lagos, Kelani Abass has exhibited in Nigeria and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include [Re:] Entanglements, Contemporary Art and Colonial Archives at the National Museum Lagos in 2020 and If I could save time at the CCA Lagos in 2019.

In 2020 he has been selected to present his work at the 5th Casablanca International Biennale. Kelani Abass has participated in several residencies and workshops including Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco, California and Malt Air, Maltfabrikken, Ebetoft, Denmark.



Online catalogue

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