LIVE: Aniekan Udofia’s Can You Dig It? Art Exhibition

Hardwood floors and white walls. Canvases with images of brown faces inspired by the 70’s. An exhibition of art. A briskly cold Friday night lent itself to an amazing evening of art and social connection. Aniekan Udofia’s “Can You Dig It?” art exhibition was incredible. Aniekan was quite stylish in a blue polyester leisure jacket with white stitching, donning a very sharp fedora and a loud printed shirt, he took us straight to the 70’s equip with the perfect blend of that era’s music spun by DJ Eskimo. “Can You Dig It?” was inspired by the 70’s sitcoms that didn’t stay in the 70’s; instead syndication has generation after generation watching decades later. From Bruce Lee to Marvin Gaye and Fela, this exhibition exploded with color and popped off the canvas right into the room.

As the “fly on the wall” observing the event I noticed art patrons were not quick to rush through the gallery look and leave; instead they lingered, chatting, pointing and re-examining each piece displayed. In some cases dragging friends to take a second even third look at some detail they may have missed before. Thanks to the music being kept to a moderate level, conversations could be had and Aniekan was the topic. One woman exclaimed in a room of well over 100 people…

“You are the artist aren’t you… I can tell.”

She was right. Aniekan politely smiled and gave the woman his business card while accepting numerous accolades from her.

“His detail is just amazing.”, another patron said.

One guy said…

“Would it be wrong to use my cell phone to take a picture? I am just so inspired by his work but I do not want to be disrespectful.”

If you have never experienced Aniekan’s work before these photos will not begin to do it justice (even though I did take them) but it will in fact show you this man is definitely a major talent. When I first met him his art reflected popular faces of hip hop music B.I.G., Tupac, Snoop Dog… but  each series of work always contained commentary in the context of how media infects and affects our communities. A sense of what is right, what is valued and what is demeaned are all topics of conversation surrounding his work.

I am reluctant to describe this body of work mainly because the feeling you get when you see it would not translate. The caliber of work that hung on the walls of {Cr8} Space last Friday evening is that of an artist whose name should be in everyone’s mouth. In fact he should be on TED to tell his story.

Having attended Udofia’s exhibitions over the years, I can say I like where he was but I love where he is going.