'Introspection' is a term intricately woven into the fabric of art, which delicately enshrouds the act of delving into one's inner self, extracting purpose, and comprehending our existence.
Aristotle captures it thus: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” This sentiment resonates not only with life's journey but also with the very essence of artistic creation. This pursuit of self-discovery forms the nucleus of both art and the human experience, guiding the philosophy behind the inaugural edition of SOTO Gallery’s Residency presentation.
In May 2023, SOTO Gallery welcomed four artists - Chukwumereogo Okeke, Emmanuel Ifoegbuike, Adaoma Nnabeze, and Simon Iloani, from Eastern Nigeria to Lagos, setting the stage for a deeply immersive art tour that unfolded as a transformative odyssey.
Rooted in the belief that understanding oneself is foundational to wisdom, the residency provided a unique platform for these emerging talents to engage with the rich artistic landscape of Lagos. This comprised activities including a masterclass by the residency’s academic lead - Tracian Meikle, insights from the prolific artist Anthony Azekwoh, and enriching visits to prominent art institutions such as the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, the Guest Artist Space (GAS) Foundation, and Yaba College of Technology, at the Center for Contemporary Art.
Spanning six months, the residency fostered an environment of constant communication and encouragement, resulting in profound introspection for the participating artists. The immersive tours offered not only exposure to diverse artistic practices but also a nurturing space for personal and creative growth. As a testament to SOTO Gallery's commitment to cultivating artistic initiatives in Nigeria, the residency aimed not just to incubate emerging talents, but also to foster a deeper understanding of self among the artists.
This curatorial endeavor extends beyond the artists' personal explorations, reaching out to you, the audience. The curated experiences deliberately crafted for the artists are now translated into an exhibition that invites you to embark on your own introspective journey. As you engage with the art, SOTO Gallery and the artists anticipate that this collective exploration will encourage you to reflect inward, unlocking new dimensions of understanding and appreciation for the profound interplay of art and self-discovery.