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Emmanuel Eni returns, renew in Yusuf Grillo Gallery

Berlin, Germany based Nigerian artist, Emmanuel Eni continues his two-months long art show with Art Merchant II


Tuesday April 28 through May 5, will be for unique art performances in Lagos as maverick artist and social campaigner, Emmanuel Eni opens the second leg of his two months long international exhibition tagged Art Merchant II.
The solo exhibition, which holds at Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) , will feature a lecture and display project by the painter and his German wife within the period of its public showing April 28 through May 5.
It is Eni’s second outing and continuation of a two months long exhibition which started last month at the National museum Onikan, Lagos.
The Edo State born poet, singer and multi-media artist who has made name because of his maverick art engagements, said he is using the show to showcase his dream for art stakeholders in Nigeria, while also exposing his new creations, including his new light paintings, installations and sculptures developed from his studio in Berlin Germany for public appraisal in Nigeria.

Hear him: “In other to project and actually feature art in the GDP of free market economies, the exhibition will try to explore possible means to attract more activities in the art market, Nigeria in particular.’’
“Light-paintings selected for the exhibition are new paintings i created which shows the inner light projects of my paintings. I created a dual light scope that gives the works double position and reflect the themes. Some of them are illuminated painting you can see in the dark.’’
Throwing more light into the background of the show, Eni who is known for popularizing stage art performances said “At a time in history, a trader becomes a merchant, creating a chain to wholesalers, retailers, as well as consumers.
Art merchant II is the coming out from a shell, or on a more positive way, from the rigid. Art merchant is letting the cat out of the bag to show art works that are not known before. It is bringing art to the people in a way that collector have not seen before.’’
Hosted in YABATECH, the event will equally feature an art salon in which participating artists and art critics as well as several others will brainstorm on critical issues affecting visual arts practice in Nigeria. The Salon, holding under the theme New way of the Nigerian Art Market will draw artists, crticts, scholars and art patrons to the venue. Eni inform that the interactive talk will provide new flexibility in support of total commitment to the growth of visual arts in the country. Founder of Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Art Foundation (OYASAF) Prince Yemisi Shyllon, will open the exhibition and discuss section, while the special guest will be Chairman Visual Arts Society of Nigeria (VASON) Chief Sammy Olagbaju, as well as the Italian Ambassador in Nigeria. Black Man in European Kitchen and Death of the Curator, two of Eni’s stage performance will be staged
to entertain the audience as part of the exhibition.
Other features of the exhibition will include a cultural performance by students of YABATECH as well as presentation of artistic performances of Emmanuel Eni in Germany, a sort of documentary studio work of the artist.
The artist, who regretted that most of his colleagues in art have not deemed it fit to use their woks to ameliorate the plight of the underprivileged, said that Art Merchant II was initiated to fill that gap.
Eni, who has performed extensively in Europe, US, Scandinavia, Canada and other countries, said the show is aimed at raising awareness on the challenges of new ways of African art market.
The maverick artist, who is also a published poet, said the outing will showcase him exhibiting about 30 specially selected paintings and sculptures.
According to Eni “Art Merchant II exhibition is a continuation of the exhibition that i started last month at the National museum Lagos. In Yaba, we want to build on what we have already done in Nigeria. This new show will be remarkable because it will offer platform for art stakeholders to brainstorm on contemporary issues,’’ he said.
According to the artist, some of the works that would go on display in the Art Merchant II exhibitions are uniquely modeled works that retain their originality their true evocation.
“Fifteen sculptures and materials that include bronze, fibre glass, and terra cotta will also be on display as well as other pieces,” he said.
The artist, who had remarkable performance in Lagos, entitled, Blackman in European Kitchen at Goethe Institut, in 2006, and CharacterLagostica, in 2007, said the exhibition was inspired by success made during the first outing.
He disclosed he will use the show to further pursue his already known identity as an artist, who invests his creativity, heavily, in digging deep into the contemporary African problems for the Nigerian audience.
Eni expressed hope that Art Merchant II would draw a lot of people when it opens, and equally raise fund for his charity works.
Eni who is currently based in Berlin, Germany, where he run his studio is known for staging diverse art exhibitions. He has featured in countless Biennials including, Dakar, Lyon, Guoangu, a stitch-parallel to Documenta 12 in Kassel Germany among others.
He has also undertaken extensive travels teaching. He was visiting professor in Rhode Island School of Arts and Design RISD, in New Hampshire, in the United States. He was also Prof. of Sculpture and New Media, in Berlin Wiesensee University.
The first edition of the Art Merchant exhibition was held last month, March 2 through 9, at the National Museum Onikan Lagos, where over 30 creative art works by the artist, executed in various styles, techniques and media with interesting themes were professionally exhibited.

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