On 11th June we launched 'Contradictions' by the acclaimed artist and sculptor Ade Adesina RSA. We were overjoyed to finally see Ade, who travelled down from Aberdeen for launch day. On his last attempt to visit us, back in March 2020 he was unable to make it as Flybe had abruptly gone out of business on the day of his flight from Scotland; one of the earliest knock-on effects of 2020, as we soon discovered.
But fast-forward two years, and with an eye always on current affairs, Ade has moved on with a new body of work.
Ade Adesina is a great visual storyteller. In this work, imagery from Nigeria and memories of his childhood there, form some of the central motifs. The truck seen in the centre is a common sight in the country and the graffiti on its side features the name of the city Ibadan where Ade grew up. Many other objects in the foreground reference Nigerian culture: the cowrie shells that were once used as currency and retain their symbolic significance; the double bells and small sweeping brush; and the musical instrument 'kora' played all over West Africa.
Woven into this narrative are references to his current life in Aberdeen, such as the curling stone which is made from granite in the area, and representations of contemporary issues from the news in our everyday lives: the urgency of climate change action in the ticking clock, the animals threatened by extinction and the cloud on chains; or the recent rise in surveillance culture seen in the camera on a tripod. Ade also emphasises the universality of his life and the challenges we all face by depicting buildings from different parts of the world at the top of the composition, showing that we are all connected, in our history and in our humanity.
'Contradictions' is the largest print Ade's ever produced, with many visitors asking him how long it took to complete. Ade seemed reluctant at first to think about exactly when he began working on it, although he estimates it was around 2019. The finished lino took him and two other technicians a full day to ink up and prepare for the press. It's only when the first print is taken that Ade has any idea about how the image is shaping up, adding to the challenges and pressure of producing such a work.
We're thrilled to be able to reveal this work for the first time here at Sarah Wiseman Gallery. Our thanks go to Ade for allowing us this honour. It looks stunning!
'Contradictions' by Ade Adesina RSA continues until 2nd July.