In his work, Kelani Abass explores the importance of material heritage and the archive as a bridge between past and present. The photographic image is the starting point for a multi-layered plastic work. As a creative medium and object of memory, the photographic image is taken apart and analysed in the multiple possibilities it offers. In his work, the artist mixes ancient portrait photographs – original or reproduced in painting – which he collects from the archives inherited from his father’s printing company. To this are added metallic typefaces and other elements from the printing field.
Kelani Abass thus brings to light these fragile and personal testimonies of a bygone Nigerian era of celebration of the independence. In this study of the « image factory », this one appears in its essential function as a support of memory – a fragmentary and multiple memory, reassembled by the artist’s hands.
Born in 1979, Kelani Abass lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.
Gallery owner Charles-Wesley Hourde, specialised in classical arts from Africa, Oceania and America, joins forces with Clémence Houdart, independent cultural sector consultant for visual arts, to create and develop a new independent branch of his business dedicated to contemporary art. Together in 2019, they found 31 PROJECT. 31 PROJECT is dedicated to promote African contemporary art scenes through multidisciplinary exhibitions of artists originating from the continent and its diasporas. 31 PROJECT is a new player in these networks and this emerging market that are moving the cartography of international contemporary art. An entity structured as a flexible model, to react as close as possible to the actuality of African scenes and to give an account of their vitality.