Change the world

Event location: Bird Street Gallery, Nelson Mandela University

Event date and time: 13/04/2022 09:10:19

13 April - 13 May 2022


Bird Street Gallery

20 Bird Street, Central, Gqeberha


Mon - Fri, 9h00 - 16h00

The multidisciplinary exhibition dialogues the transmutation of culture and societies.
It references centuries old African practices that fuses community cohesion, religion, politics, spirituality and governance.
Obot seeks to reinterpret and present in contemporary discourse a part of the narrative of African history in fiberglass, wood, metal, stainless steel and biodegradable materials

The ‘MKPESE – The Incarnate’ oeuvre continues from its precursor ‘MKPESE: Then, Now and Future Histories’ that opened at the Raw Spot Gallery, Rhodes University during the end of his 2021 Mellon Foundation funded artist-in-residence program at the Arts of Africa and the Global Souths Research Program, Department of Fine Arts, Rhodes University. This body of work draws from a part of African history, in particular the ancient cultural practice of the ‘Ekpo’ society in Ibibio culture. This society existed for centuries before the advent of the continent's colonizers, it was largely partly utilized as the mode of governance, restoration of law and order, and as a vehicle to propagate culture. With its own vernacular, scripts, tenets, and classified modes of operation, it combined spirituality and religion with governance. Initiated membership was based on the male gender. Its premise of invoking the dead – the ancestors from the spirit world who now take on the physical state of a man wearing carved wooden masks and other paraphernalia made of biodegradable materials. Their functions included restoring and maintaining peace, a defense force for the community, the community ‘police’, and even at times as arbitrators.

As a progenitor holding in trust these histories in changing times, I seek to re–image this practice and use it to contextualize our current state of being, of moving, and of changing from one state to the other. Be it migrating from one location to the other or differing in the state of mind. These works discuss the transmutation of the ‘Ékpo’ as a spirit from the land of the dead to the land of the living assimilating with humans. This transmutation is akin to the physical change of state or location and the migration of a person from one country to the other whereby he adopts a different status, culture, language and subsequently acclimatizes. The body of work is segmented but each connects with the others holistically. In the realization of these works, the fusion of different materials including stainless steel, fiber glass, wood, acrylic color copper wire, and iron is a metaphor for the making of society and speaks to the unification of diverse communities for a purpose



My works seeks to interrogate and bring to the fore our inner consciousness that we have or not harnessed to influence our society.

My work has evolved from two dimensional presentations in pen, ink, water colour , oils and acrylic presentations of sites, events, objects, emotions and thoughts to experimentations into common materials. In turn my colours, material and the theme in my recent works have equally changed to reflect and encompass our society's present state, my experiences and the thinking that I wish to provoke.

In my recent body of work, I have focused on the exploration into the use and combination of common materials such as Wood, leather, fabric, Perspex, metal, Stainless steel, glass fibre, etc. These stretches across painting, sculpture, installation and site specific works.

My work addresses gender roles, social injustices - xenophobia, racism, exclusion, migration, integration and the dangers that underpin the African society.