Arts & Culture
by Aspect County

Nengi Omuku: The Dance of People and the Natural World

Nengi Omuku: The Dance of People and the Natural World 

at Hastings Contemporary – 7 October 2023 — 3 March 2024

Omuku Lighthouse 2021 PH1238 300dpi

The first major UK solo exhibition of new and recent works by Lagos-based artist Nengi Omuku, exploring her profound relationship with the natural world is being showcased at Hastings Contemporary..

The Dance of People and the Natural World will not only introduce Omuku’s work to a wider UK audience, but also seeks to broaden the exposure and awareness of the vibrant contemporary Nigerian art scene.

Nengi Omuku Photo credit Full house Partners

Omuku Eden 2022 PH10463 view 1 300dpi

Displaying more than ten pieces, the show spans five of Hastings Contemporary’s eight galleries, and includes works made between 2021 and 2023 that explore Omuku’s love of nature and the ways in which it provides her with a sense of safety and serenity. From 2021’s Lighthouse through to her latest, as yet to be titled work made this year (2023), the series focuses on a sense of re-immersion in nature. As Omuku explains: This comes from both a personal place, telling my story as a gardener and florist, as well as what I feel is a collective leaning, and re-communion with nature today.”

Omuku Red Velvet 2022 PH10352 300dpi

A further highlight of the exhibition at Hastings Contemporary will be the chance to see two new works (made this year), along with her largest piece to date, Eden (2022). The display of this monumental painting (measuring 224520cms) includes stools, scatter cushions and pot plants, echoing Nengi’s own studio set-up in Lagos. The ensemble invites visitors to pause and relax, enjoying a moment of quiet reflection and respite. In Eden, Omuku invokes a sense of the biblical paradise and a longing for a pre-fall state of tranquillity, alongside a sense of the solace to be found in nature. Eden also acts as conduit between the other works on display by further expressing the artist’s theme of the rest and sanctuary afforded by the natural world. Eden represents an allegorical journey from darkness into light, as the eye moves from left to right across the canvas, following the passage of figures as they traverse a utopian landscape composed in a vivid, Fauvist palette of complimentary colours.