Last December, Nigerian artist, Williams Chechet, debuted an extensive display of his work in a solo exhibition titled, “Hyperflux” at Abuja-based contemporary art gallery, Retro Africa.
The exhibition comprises 28 works, including 3 lightboxes and 4 video installations, and is the amalgamation of 2 decades worth of digital collages centered on the interrogation of both history and politics in Africa. Chechet’s layered work includes archival imagery, portraits that celebrate culture and reference his Northern heritage in Kaduna, and traditional regalia. He calls upon his audience to view the way in which he uses digital media to engage with his government, his culture, and himself.
Though the majority of his works feature one beautifully-distorted personage rendered in grey or black and white to accentuate cultural significance, the vibrant colors and shapes that surround this subject heighten the drama of his overall piece. His knack for isolating images on flat planes coupled with the aforementioned is a hat tip to Cubism and Abstract Expressionism.
Chechet’s spontaneous process effectively bridges a gap between the past and the present by powerfully reimagining the traditional in our world. He champions the use of technology to make art and presents poignant messages through his aesthetics and iconography. Where pieces like “Girls Like You” and “Hypebeast” remind viewers of the impact of women who are often looked past in Nigerian history books, “Black Ivory Distant Relatives” represents both Africans and Africans in diaspora—an image of the effects of the transatlantic slave trade, for the mother is Africa, while the child is the slaves that were taken away.
“Hyperflux” is indeed a flow of energy directly from its artist who has granted us, his viewers, a glimpse at his personal journey.
“Hyperflux” is on display at Retro Africa until March 14, get a preview of the exhibition via the images below.
Audrey Lang is a freelance writer whose content aims to connect a global audience to the African continent.