SABO Art and Amar Singh Gallery are pleased to present 'I Am Not A Goddess...Unless I Say I Am', a group exhibition celebrating Women's History Month featuring Anne Adams, Bunmi Agusto, Fadekemi Ogunsanya, Layo Bright, Manyaku Mashilo, Nola Ayoola, Osaru Obaseki, Peju Alatise, Shannon Bono, Tobi Alexandra Falade, and Yagazie Emezi.
This exhibition explores a range of female identity and challenges the romanticisation of women using the ‘goddess trope’. The narrative of women being ‘goddesses’ or ‘Mother Earth’ was first created in an attempt to influence society to view our intrinsic value as “more than”.
While well-intentioned and oftentimes empowering, this deification of women extracts us from the context of reality, thus robbing us of the autonomy needed to truly explore the spectrum of our identities. Women have flaws and are real people who should be valued for their individual identities and their self-proclaimed narratives. It is up to society to listen to women, appreciate us for who we are and not project idealised versions of womanhood unto us.
The 11 artists in this exhibition celebrate the identities across the spectrum of womanhood - women through the eyes of women. The figures highlighted in the exhibition are diverse, with varied social identities - age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class, religion, physical appearance, style.
As you walk through the exhibition, you will see many women. Note the nuance and multidimensionality of their existence. You will see a faceless figure that gives the audience time for reflection and incentive to question prefabricated beliefs; re-imaginations of historic bronze sculptures from the Benin Kingdom, which were predominantly of male figures; emotional paintings inspired by feelings in which the frames are integrated and become part of the artwork; an artist's impression of iconic family photographs which tell stories of heritage and trans-nationality; new concepts of Christian iconography combined with renaissance art and African design; sculpture that explores themes of migration culture and gender; glimpses of female figures in fictional narratives with Nigerian cultural consciousnesses; photography that provokes self-awareness and explores mental health; portraiture to archive lineage, time, space, and spirit i.e. the cartography of a people; figures created that pay tribute to African art and design processes; and clay sculptures that use symmetry and geometric patterns to reflect transformation.
I Am Not A Goddess… Unless I Say I Am, presents to you women in all our splendour and all our normalcy, as we take control of our own narratives. Sometimes we are goddesses and sometimes we are not, and both are alright.