Exhibition: Adrift – An Exhibition of Selected Artwork by Joshua Obaga, Jul. 24-Aug. 1 2014 @ Shifteye Gallery
Runs Until: August 1, 2014
Joshua Obaga (°1986, Nairobi) is an artist who works in a variety of media, with roots in illustration. Growing up he watched a lot of cartoons, but it wasn’t until he browsed through Disney’s illustrated copy of Rudyard Kipling’s novel ‘The Jungle Book’ that he fell in love with visual art. The use of pencils and paper to create whole worlds was an interesting prospect and took it upon himself to learn all about it.
His insatiable creative curiosity led him into alternative forms of visual arts, along the years dabbling in everything that he could, from graffiti to typography, inspired by his high school art teacher, Mungai Mburu. These various creative paths, coupled with his accidental discovery of the Adobe Suite led him into digital art/graphic design, all the while his love for art photography steadily maturing.
It was then that he found employment in advertising and found a new, more structured passion. Picking up all that he could in the creative & business experience, he eventually starting his own company.
All the while, his first love, illustration, was a faint memory (but not forgotten, much like riding a bike).
In his journey, he met a variety of creative people, most of whom inspired his different sensibilities; musicians, illustrators, ad men, fashion designers. And from those, three of his most influential were in the form of the ‘Three Js’: John Alogo, Jonah Otieno and Jim Chuchu.
Jim Chuchu (along with the staff of The Nest Arts Company) inspired and supported this project, urging him on his quest to rediscovery.
A D R I F T, a series supported by The Nest Arts Company, explores melancholy through (deconstructed) anatomy and movement. By examining the ambiguity of the melancholic self, Obaga finds that movement reveals an inherent awkwardness, a beauty that echoes our own vulnerabilities. The artist also considers movement as a metaphor for the ever-seeking man who experiences a continuous loss.
With the use of Indian ink, Conte crayons, charcoal and watercolor, he wants the viewer to become part of the art as a kind of added component, to interact with the work on an emotional level is important. By isolating the movements of the characters in a frozen, colorless moment, he expresses his inherent melancholic phases. By doing so, new sequences are created which reveal an inseparable relationship between movement and emotion. By putting the viewer on this track, he tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations.