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Biography of Oladélé BAMGBOYé

Nigeria > Arts : Oladélé BAMGBOYé

Oladélé BAMGBOYé
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Biography :

Oladélé Bamgboyé (born in 1963) is a Nigerian artist, lives and works in London.

Oladélé Bamgboyé was born in Odo-Eku, Nigeria, in 1963, and moved to the UK when he was ten years-old. In the 1990s his return to Nigeria led to a series of video-works which focussed on his own relationship with Africa and existence in Europe. One aim of his practice has been " challenge the assumed knowledge that perpetuates the continual denial of advancements in Africa, both past and present, in relation to the West". Bamgboyé has stated that " watch almost anything on television about Africa in the West is to experience varying degrees of voyeurism. We are not presented with anything other than a tragic account of disasters and conflicts, man-made and natural. Africa continues to be naturalized, a poor relation to the developed world".

At Spacex, in the context of the Middle England Series, Bamgboyé presents a traditional Devonshire cob house, built from straw bales, thatched and rendered in mud. Cob construction is the traditional method of building in Devon, with more than 40,000 homes built from mud within the county. In this domestic setting, a newly-commissioned video-work is presented, using locally-sourced archive footage of Devon and Nigeria. A second aspect of the installation re-contextualises the video-work in a museological 'white cube' setting. Alongside this new work, a three-screen video installation, Movements (1998), is presented, documenting Bamgboyé's family re-unions in Nigeria, and the day-to-day experience of living in the city of Lagos in the 1990s.

Bamgboyé's work has been included in numerous major international exhibitions, including Documenta X, the Johannesburg Biennale and the Yokohama Triennale. Recent one-person exhibitions include Witte de With, Rotterdam, and Helsinki City Art Museum. This will be his first solo exhibition in England.

The Middle England Series Increasingly politicians, advertising and the media refer to Middle England as if it were an accepted everyday definition, and yet its underlying criteria remain unclear. The question of who is able to consider themselves a part of Middle England, for example, is ambiguous. The aim of the Middle England Series is to investigate this peculiarly English, class-bound model of community, with its strong sense of belonging and ownership, and thus its seeming exclusivity and hostility towards difference.

The culture of Middle England appears to reproduce the sense of a singular homogeneous community, constructed around closely defined models of the home, the family and the citizen/subject. Whilst in reality no-one can fit in to such narrow definitions, competition for the 'ideal' Middle England lifestyle remains a powerful motor of social aspiration. Inevitably this competitive hierarchy is permeated with hidden prejudices lurking just below the surface of everyday life that can quickly be re-activated to dismiss individuals who do not fit the model.

Why Exeter? The city of Exeter has a reputation for having an outstanding quality of life, with the seaside and Dartmoor close-by, and it is regularly placed highly in relevant national surveys. The size and nature of this provincial city is such that it manages to maintain a singular sense of community, whilst flourishing commercially. In many ways it could be considered as a model of cultural and economic organisation. However the relative invisibility of cultural diversity and the city's seeming indifference to minority traditions, or unconventional lifestyles, lends itself to an exploration of the definitions of Middle England.

Last update : 07/28/2007

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