Ken Nwadiogbu (b. 1994), popularly known as KenArt, is a Nigerian born Multidisciplinary Artist and the Pioneer of Contemporealism– a fusion that is primarily centered around Hyper-Realism and Contemporary art.
‘My artwork explores, evaluates, interrogates and challenges socio-political structures and issues within society with the purpose of giving a voice to the voiceless through hyperrealism. Often referencing African Cultures, my work also touches on gender equality, black power, tribal discrimination, feminine denigration, highlighting the relationship between pain, war, sorrow, anguish, sadness and art.’ Ken Nwadiogbu
It may be useful to see Nwadiogbu in the context of artists like Denis Peterson and Gottfried Helnwein who are also ‘Hyper-realistic’ and concerned with sociopolitical issues, in particular historical catastrophe and the corruption of powerful elites. Hyper-realism is an off shot of Photorealism its processes are painstaking and procedural often working from photographs artists render their work in minute detail. The paintings of this genre don’t lack dramatic impact though often employing scale and subtle light effects to create pathos.
In the The Value of Nothing (2018) Nwadiogbu employs graphic and semiotic strategies to present his critique that, ‘The vanities of money, fame and power, are the placebo that prevent the realisation that these alone, are nothing.’ His politics is clear and the images present money as a void which over determines the human form behind. Often working in series to emphasise moral and political commentary; themes of critique of cultural forces continue in Eye Witness (2019) where the viewer is encouraged to consider the widespread corruption the artist sees as key in keeping the status quo in motion,
‘This body of works challenge the viewer to not just look, but to truly bare witness to what is seen. The works consist of anonymised bank statements, chequebooks, confidential notes and newspapers – lending to my theory that corruption is universal and endemic’ Ken Nwadiogbu
In his most striking suite of works Nwadiogbu explores racism, partisan ideology and violent warmongering, how these, often strategies of power effect ordinary people by dividing communities. The work is ernist and the point is not subtle however the targets of the artist and his impeccable skill offer a convincing body of work to his public.
Ken Nwadiogbu’s works are hyper realistic, his attention to detail entices the viewer to question his profound determination to highlight socio-political issues within Africa. His innate ability to activate an intense and emotional connection allows his works to have an impact that resonates and endures. Contemporealism features 25+ original works of charcoal and acrylic on canvas as well as Ken’s first Limited Edition Print release.
The Brick Lane Gallery
The exhibition will be open to the general public;
Friday 4th October – 10am – 6pm.
Saturday 5th October – 10am – 6pm Sunday 6th October – 12pm to 6pm.
Ken Nwadiogbu will also present at @monikerartfair in Chelsea, London from Wednesday October 2nd;
VIP, Press and Collectors preview and print release 3pm – 10pm.