Diseye Tantua re-engages society with Highway Preachers, his solo exhibition

    From today, Sunday April 10, 2022, Diseye Tantua, one of the sought-after contemporary Nigerian artists, will be re-engaging the Nigerian and Ghana societies and followers of his works across the world in an enthralling solo exhibition.

    Tagged, Highway Preachers, the exhibition features 12 works, which are masterpieces that are bearing the creative signature of Diseye Tantua, as well as, cut across oil on canvas and acrylic on canvas.

    The works showcase slogans on vehicles, especially commercial buses and are a sheer display of the creative ingenuity of the artist, who is from a Nigerian father and Ghanaian mother. They are on display from today till April 24, 2022 at Alexis Galleries, located at #282 Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

    Speaking of the exhibition, the artist noted that while humans are all passersby in this life, the contributions they make to the development of their careers, betterment of the society and to life in general are what matter most, hence he is using art to reach out to the society and to impact lives positively.

    According to him, the exhibition is a continuation of his 2009 exhibition titled Look & Laugh, while the title reflects the people and realities in the society.

    “A lot of time we see these buses on the streets and they are serious billboards because of the slogans on them”, he said.

    He traced the slogan to the days of the early missionaries who came with education and with their vehicles written missionaries and all that, overtime, transit buses started having write-ups on them and people started creating their own phrases.

    “For instance, if a wife does bad thing to her husband, you will see write-ups like, ‘no money, no wife’; no money no honey, after God fear woman, among others, which are experiences of the drivers and they put them on the buses and carry them around”, he explained.

    From the early missionaries’ stage, according to him, slogans have now gone beyond the text to a stage where people create designs of their experiences. “When you are down and walking on the street and you see a bus drive past you with the slogan, ‘Be Happy’, it changes your mood”, he said.

    In her curatorial statement, Ugonna Ibe, the curator of the exhibition, explained that Highway Preachers is a must-see because of many reasons.

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    She noted that while Highway Preachers is a continuation of the Look & Laugh exhibition of 2009, in the current works, the vehicles have one or two slogans now; there are more elements on the road, and more things to consider.

    “In one of the works you will see VIPs, street hawkers, women on the road, and there are more elements to consider. It is more of a societal dialogue, raising the question, ‘is there anything to laugh about any longer? So, the attention is redirected from just the text to the human element and the people who are affected”, she explained.

    She noted that it is interesting how the colours have changed, the lines blurred right now, the trucks don’t appear as new, the work is a little more abstracted and more reflective of the chaos on these roads, which are reflections of where we are in the society.

    “The style is still the same, it is playful, digestible, but if you look deeper, there are serious issues being discussed”, the curator concluded.

    However, Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, founder and director, Alexis Galleries, expressed her delight at working with Diseye Tantua, noting that he is a friend of the gallery and an artist whose creativity is not in question.

    In its tradition of donating percentage of the proceeds of every exhibition to charity, Alexis Galleries has adopted Women At Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a non profit foundation, as a beneficiary of its give back to the society.

    Most importantly, the gallery appreciates the support of its sponsors including; Lipton Tea, Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, The Guardian, Wazobia TV, Cool FM, Aina Blankson, AMG Logistics, Art Café, UPS, Rentokil-Boecker, Cobranet, Haier Thermocool and Lost In a city.

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