Adekunle Lawal and Oba Adeyinka Abayomi, these selected street names become characters in the portraitures of some of the body of artworks titled“ And They were Kings I” and “And They were Kings II” in the solo experiential exhibition themed Akomònà (*direction). An aural collection from Lagos streets depicts senses of direction, confusion and backwardness due to lack of proper documentation. These subjects(*portraits) were pixelated to interpret our lack of informative history, and projects our access to diluted history or inconclusive history/information. It further shows how our future keeps blurring if history is not taken into cognisance.
The subjects are bejewelled with a crown and necklace made of street signs (*when the street signs are put together it describes the street names on the Ikoyi, Lagos map named after the subjects of the portraitures).
Akomònà investigates direction, destination and place as a bearer of evidence and the lack of it using the device of street names as a backdrop and a pointer.
Street names are often reduced to just name tags of streets or locations, a medium used to measure areas or postal codes. However they have a lot more importance. They can be maps that help us navigate through the streams of past events, shared and isolated histories of cultures and a point of interferences and relationships. As symbols and relics of memory they are pregnant with events- history, culture, wars, victories and challenges. Street names contain data relevant to the writing of our every day stories.
Streets leads to spaces represented as a measure in three dimensions. This triptych dimension can pose a limitation to record as walls of a given episode can be changed or collapsed leading to a loss of essence or integrity of a particular moment. This transformation of the walls or elements that make up space makes it important that data and data sources be preserved. Data becomes subjective when space is transient. Data is a resource that must be kept sacrosanct for the purpose of trustworthiness in referencing. This exhibition puts the spot light on the space as not just as an encirclement but as a moment and as a quest.
Akomònà is a journey in the path of journeys. Akomònà takes a journey into the reason why the journey took the dimension it took. It seeks to engage our history using maps and street as a guidance. The spotlight is on the place and the process that brought about the place. It is a vehicle to reinvestigate the present political, social, cultural, and economic structures. And by extension, cast a new vision on the public signposts of our consciousness and create a cartography for the future.
These cartographies are represented by the layers of media that culminates in an experiential exhibition. By merging sound, installations, mural and paintings into a sublime presentation, Tobi invites the audience to a state of retrospection that exalts the necessity for preservation, the preeminence of direction, the appropriation of honour, the authenticity of origins, the pristiness of heritage, the generation and regulation of new knowledge, the liberality of our own pedagogy and the verification of sources of our shared epistemology.
Akomònà highlights 23 (non exhaustive) street names that were changed, captured by the mural on a section of the exhibition. This section can be a starting point for all the experience that the exhibition holds, leading into the sound installations and the portraits, interlaced with rechristened street names.