11 March - 7 May
Cameron Ugbodu is a London-based, Austrian-Nigerian artist and curator whose practice imagines, fosters and brings to life queer, black, creative spaces. Ugbodu presents artworks from all his major series to date, including his New Mo(nu)ments: life-size black and white portraits inspired by African sculptural traditions, from Benin Bronzes and Akan gold weights to traditional wood crafting techniques. These wood sculptures were the artist’s first exposure to art, when his grandfather shipped some from Nigeria to Austria as wedding gifts.
The exhibition’s title, See You, is a reference to Ugbodu‘s street art tag, his own initials and a commentary on the relationship between viewer and artwork. For Ugbodu, it is essential for his works to be publicly accessible and visible beyond the confines of gallery spaces. In his own words: “As a black artist, I want people outside to see our work and not have it restricted from view for only the privileged. Not everyone has the time or the resources to go to a gallery.”
Ugbodu’s practice is concerned not just with representation but with reclamation. His project ‘Body Studies’ offers a response to the fetishization of the black male body throughout history and photography, while ‘Masters-Teachers’, a series of self-portraiture created by Ugbodu and his mentor Campbell Addy, demonstrates the need to create safespaces and systems of mentorship for black/queer artists.
Ugbodu has a highly experimental approach to display, influenced by his family’s background in craftsmanship. The artworks are exhibited in a range of materials, from wallpaper and cotton to fly posting paper, to the display of a very personal scrapbook. Ugbodu blends the worlds of photography, painting and sculpture, with some works affixed to recycled shipping pallets or canvas stretched over wood frames before being painted over.