Artist statement about the work titled “you stole my gaze”
A large-scale full-body portrait in oil and acrylic on canvas. The figures appear as meta-humans standing at the crossroad between metaphors and reality; between a real Nigerian person and the idea of who that person could be. Their bodies appear as meta-bodies, sculpted with realistic attention yet with a metallic rendering of the skin that allows them to shine in the moonlight. Their faces carry tribal marks that reference Ife Bronze Heads. Reminiscent of African masks, these hybrid figures traverse metaverses and resist a fixed designation, serving the sole purpose of this meeting, of this encounter with us in a meta-garden. Ojingiri’s magenta garden is of an uncertain kind, glowing under the light of dawn, or perhaps sunset, it features vegetation characteristic to Nigeria, whereby the artist nudges the nation’s uniqueness.
In this series, the female figures’ skin tone thickens through an intense dark blue, and that of the male’s burns in a bright incandescent yellow. The indigo ultramarine blue backgrounds, always naturalistic, come alive with creatures such as birds and monkeys. The artist associates the birds, here The Anambra Waxbill, the Ibadan Malimbe, and Jos Indigo, with female sexuality, while the monkey, specifically the Drill Monkey, one of the world’s rarest species of animals and inhabitants of the Nigerian forests, with the male sexuality. Bridging into the other series, here too the vegetation is comprised of plants native to Nigeria.