Nnenna Okore: Ukwa Ruo Oge Ya O Daa - There’s a time for everything at October Gallery

Ukwa Ruo Oge Ya O Daa is Nnenna Okore’s third solo exhibition at October gallery and it makes for an intriguing visit. October gallery is a small space, that offers a warm welcome to visitors, with its warm lighting, creaking wooden floorboards, and white walls that perfectly enhance the artworks on display.

Australian-born Nnenna Okore works in both Nigeria and the United States of America. Her work consists of large abstract sculptures that are full of texture, depth, colour and twist in various forms. Okore creates her masterpieces by finding value in discarded materials and “rubbish”, she sometimes relies on flotsam and discarded objects, which she then transforms into stunning, intricate sculptures. Some of her processes for creating her art include sewing, weaving, rolling, twisting and dyeing; Okore learned these techniques by watching local Nigerians performing daily tasks.

Ukwa Ruo Oge Ya O Daa is an Igbo axium that references the falling of breadfruit from the mother tree. Ukwa  is Igbo for the plummet of this tropical fruit, it indicates the height of it’s ripened phase, also sparking the genesis of a new trajectory - the decaying stage.

Okore’s work includes elements of nature, such as roots, veins and flora. Each magnificent sculpture is bursting with life and regeneration. Although Okore’s work is flowing with life, her work also contains strong recurring themes of ageing, death and decay. Okore’s work explores the notions of bodily and spiritual changes, especially those that occur with age.

Okore’s sculptures are evocative of mapped out veins and arteries. The sculptures appear to drip with the blood that contains their life and soul as they spread their twisting, pulsing veins around the room. Much of Okore’s work is made up of red tones, a colour of fire and blood, associated with war and danger, but also with strength, power and passion. Red is an emotionally intense colour; enhancing human metabolism, increasing respiration rate and raising blood pressure. This exhibition is so full of red, it is without a doubt guaranteed to get viewers pulses racing as their imaginations run wild upon viewing this outstanding set of artworks.

Other sculptures featured are heavy in brown tones, and viewers can witness them strewing their roots and vines across the walls, grasping for a spot to take ahold of and plant new life, continuing the cycle of life and establishing the cosmic order of things. Okore uses natural elements to create her sculptures, such as cheesecloth, burlap and paper in order to further accentuate the natural element of her artworks.

‘There’s a time for everything’ reminds viewers that although this exhibition is full of life and regeneration, everything has its due time and nothing can escape the laws of nature. This exhibition celebrates the process of birth, death and decay and although Okore’s works reflect the fragility of life and yet have been created with materials that will stand the test of time.

Nnenna Okore: Ukwa Ruo Oge Ya O Daa - There’s a time for everything is on at October Gallery until the 2nd December.  More information may be found here.