SMO Contemporary Art (SMO) is delighted to showcase at SOUTH SOUTH the works of Kelani Abass (b. 1979 in Lagos, Nigeria), whose works interrogate African heritage through narratives that explore the coalescing of the past and the present. Abass challenges the virility of historical references through carefully chosen materials, which have been diligently transformed, and familiar semantics inverted in order to tell unique contemporary stories inspired by a diverse and far-reaching legacy. With letterpress type-cases, photographs, and hand written notes dating back to the 1920s, inherited from his family's printing press, Kelani Abass etches the stories of individuals and communities in his mixed media assemblages. Painting time with these materials, he elucidates memory from collective experiences, while examining the interdependence of the past and present. Abass draws us into a powerful and fresh interpretation of African history, tradition, and identity. His works unearth histories and practices relevant to the current global conversations of culture preservation, detriment of the single narrative, and consequences of the isolation of learned past experience from present practice.
Lagos, Nigeria, 101233