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Blue Strokes – Artists from Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon

BLUE STROKES - includes artists from Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon – all of whom have experienced and contributed to a rich history in local culture and personal heritage. Besides the shared extensive use of the blue tint and the technique used to apply it, the title refers to the sky and the sea, to freedom, elegance, inspiration, wisdom and the saturnine behavior that defines artists and keeps the powerful striking act of wrath under control. From the vivid imagery, immense balance of rich contrast, to a super concentrated explosion of color, every unique shade, texture and identity of the artists have been interwoven to create this unique exhibition at GR Gallery. The artists hail from a variety of communities and homelands; their stories and embracement are portrayed on each piece of artwork that was specifically made to present their vision, their commitments, and their actual life. GR Gallery is pleased to announce this groundbreaking group exhibition showcasing multi-talented artists from different states of Africa: Mamus Esiebo, Daniel Tetteh Nartey, Atanda Quadri Adebayo, Moustapha Baidi Oumarou.

Mamus EsieboSummertime

Mamus Esiebo is a self-taught artist from Lagos, Nigeria. His work focuses on the life of simple people, covering subjects such as self- identification, the family life,  and overworking. His painting shows alot of vital energy, the distinct ethnic motives and the individual style projects a sense of optimism upon the viewer and the feelings that even the grimmest subjects can approached with hope. 

This exciting show will reveal, for the first time in a public exhibition in the U.S. , the latest series of artworks that the artists have been working on for the past months. Appositely conceived for this occasion, this bold body of new works will independently invade the gallery space, contrasting and counterbalancing each other. The show will put together in total twenty original artworks, including paintings on canvas, works on paper and a print.

A shifting stream of uncommon energy flows through the compositions of these young talents, each in a specific way, that eventually reveals its sole aspiration of expressing and revealing every single story through new ways to explore creativity. The gestural strength and the bold contrast between the shiny vivid acrylic color and the deep matte black of the charcoal, that symbolize the inner opposition, in Adebayo subjects; the stillness of Mamus configuration, almost encapsuled in an far, but at the same time very contemporary, dimension, spotlessly arranged; the multitude of layers, textures, materials and techniques that defines the cryptic characters, always without a face, at least for how we know it, in Daniel artworks and Moustapha’s enigmatic figures, only distinguished from the background through their accessories and apparel, that carry untold revelations in an environment always boosted by joyful saturated colors and embellished with unfamiliar flowers. In this moment of deep uncertainty the blue color serves as a trait d’union to draw a new path of creativity that connect a traditional heritage, unknown to the most, to an unprecedented contemporary ballgame, in the hope to lead us toward the future. 

Atanda Quadri Adebayo: Under The Blue Moon

Atanda Quadri Adebayo: Survival Gaze

For Atanda Quadri Adebayo (b. 1999) painting is a journey of self-discovery and realization that allows him to acknowledge the past and project himself towards the future. The artist was born in the ancient coastal city of Badagry, on the outskirts of Lagos (Nigeria), once an important geographical crossroads in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. A son of these lands, the brutal colonial past is part of history, but here fuses to be solely defined by it -an aspect that shines through his paintings. The figures that populate his works Represent unbroken men and women who burst with color and hope, despite the sufferance embedded in their life. Portrayed in elegant poses, the facial expressions embody an empowered vulnerability, or the result of finding bliss amidst the struggle.

Moustapha Baidi Oumarou: untitled 

Moustapha Baidi Oumarou: untitled 

Moustapha Baidi Oumarou worked in a silkscreen workshop before he began focusing on painting. The figures in his canvases are often anonymous, though their clothing and gestures are carefully rendered, and they float in and out of foregrounds and backgrounds that often feature flora and fauna. Oumarou says that the anonymity of his subjects allows them to become a springboard for exploring the human condition; he also focuses on the power of love, which he describes as the “light and source of life.” While his wild patterns are reminiscent of Matisse and Gauguin, Oumarou takes an approach to portraiture that recalls Amy Sherald, Barkley L. Hendricks, and others. 
Since his childhood, Moustapha Baidi Oumarou (b. 1997) developed sense of observation has allowed him to approach life with a certain philosophy and a rare openness. Moustapha is already «a wise man», a boy whose maturity equals the sympathy he exudes. After primary and secondary studies, his taste for drawing led him to work in a silkscreen workshop where he finally could develop the skills he had always dreamed of. Supported by his entourage, he decided to focus on painting. In 2013, at the age of 17, he won the third prize in the visual artsat the Yawalta Maroua festival. This was an important distinction for him and the following year he joined the plastic arts club of the University of Maroua. This is when he decided to become an artist. Today, Moustapha is a happy young artist entering a promising artistic career. Moustapha is inspired by his entourage and by his vision on the world, he is a conscious and humanist painter. This humanism appears in his paintings and drawings as an attempt to relay what the forgotten and most vulnerable can’t express with words. Moustapha Baidi Oumarou is an artist to militate for a fairer and more open world. Like him, his painting is always positive and optimistic.

Daniel Tetteh Nartey: untitled

Daniel Tetteh Nartey: untitled

Daniel Tetteh Nartey (B.1991) is a Ghanaian painter based in the regional capital of Ghana.A certified painter of the famed Ghanatta college of art and design which produced world class artists such as Amoako Boafo, Otis qwaku, Kwesibotwey, among others. He is amid with this technical ability and the skills. in his own words, "me being an artist is means to self actualization" Nartey's works has been in constant state of evolution as with life experiences and interpretations therefore uses the canvas as a mirror  visualizing ones own state of mind  in trancsendings. His paintings are inspired by both intentional and unintentional acts portrayed in our everyday figurative poses  the awkwardness and the satirical nature which remains elusive living the human actions undefined. This is most evident in  his works where figures painted has no facial features and expressions. reintroducing a Contorlines techniques rendered  to faces and capturing thier being in motion, creating conversations ,dialogues  and striking feelings  in the quest for understanding  his works.

Mamus Esiebo (Lagos Nigeria, 1985) | Daniel Tetteh Nartey (Ghana, 1991) | Atanda Quadri Adebayo (b. 1999, Nigeria) | Moustapha Baidi Oumarou (Cameroon, 1997)
until October 9, 2021
255 Bowery (between Houston & Stanton) New York, NY 10002
Established in 2015, GR gallery is a contemporary art gallery located in Downtown Manhattan on the historical Bowery. It focuses its activity on exhibiting and promoting emerging and mid-career artists that challenge themselves with the most varied media, maintaining a dynamic attitude towards chromatic vibration, and explore the boundaries of figuration. GR gallery is partner with Studio d’Arte GR, the 'mother' gallery founded in Venice in 1979 that has centered its operation on the re-discovery and representation of the postwar avant-gardes of Latin matrix, especially “Informale”, “Optical” and “Kinetic” Art.

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