Art@Site Sunday Jack Akpan No Title

Sunday Jack Akpan


No Title

Akebonocho, Tachikawa-shi
What kind of men are these?
What are these important men with their flashy coats and top hats, doing just in front of this common natural stone office buildings?
They are impressive, that's for sure. For me as lonely stroller, I feel impressed by this tight-knit social group. They are important and powerful individuals, and they know that. These men don’t look at each other, but still they have a social cohesion. They form two straight lines. There is a secret social rank order; I see standing and seated men, men with and without a staff in their hand.
The artwork is placed in front of offices, without any distinctive feature, which you can find in any city. Is Sunday Jack Akpan saying anything about a particular culture, about identity and self-esteem?
The men all look in the same direction; they look at us. There are two social groups, so it seems: them and us. This is an confronting artwork. These men demand attention. You can’t walk along this artwork without looking at it and thinking about it.w
This is not an artwork, like so many. This is not an artistic interpretation of the reality, but a realistic presentation. Or: this is what you think in first glance. Now I’am in doubt: could it be possible that so many rulers are sitting together? This would be a representation of a large number of tribes or countries. I don’t think Sunday Jack Akpan wants to show this but I think he wants to tell something.
For me No Title by Sunday Akpan Jack is a call for cultural identity and pride. The special clothing, attitude, symbols indicate that we can be different from the international global unity. The artwork invites us to ask questions, to get acquainted with, to be interested in the other person.
By Theo,

Wat zijn dit voor mannen?
Wat doen deze belangrijke mannen, met hun opzichtige kleden en hoge hoeden, hier vlak voor deze doorsnee natuursteen kantoorgebouwen?
Zij maken indruk, dat is zeker. Als eenling wandelend langs deze hechte sociale groep voel ik mij geïmponeerd. Dit zijn belangrijke en krachtige individuen, en dat weten zij ook. Ze kijken elkaar niet aan, maar toch is er een sociale cohesie. Zij vormen twee kaarsrechte rijen. Er is een geheime sociale rangorde; ik zie staande en zittende mannen, mét en zónder een staf in hun hand.
Het kunstwerk is geplaatst voor kantoren, zonder herkenbare uitstraling die in elke stad zouden kunnen staan. Wil Sunday Jack Akpan iets zeggen over een bijzondere cultuur onderscheid en eigenwaarde?
De mannen kijken allen dezelfde kant op; zij kijken naar ons en wij naar hen. Zo lijkt het alsof er twee sociale groepen zijn: zij en wij. Het kunstwerk confronteert. Deze mannen eisen aandacht en je kunt niet voorbij dit kunstwerk lopen zonder te kijken.
Dit is geen kunstwerk, zoals zo velen. Het is namelijk geen artistieke interpretatie van de werkelijkheid, maar een realistische afbeelding. Of tenminste dat is het eerste waaraan ik dacht. Maar nu twijfel ik hieraan: zou het kunnen dat zoveel heersers bijeen zitten? Dit zou dan een vertegenwoordiging zijn van een groot aantal stammen of landen. Het lijkt mij dat Sunday Jack Akpan dit niet wil laten zien maar iets bijzonders wil zeggen.
No Title van Sunday Jack Akpan is voor mij een oproep tot culturele eigenheid en trots. De bijzondere kleding, houding, symbolen wijzen erop dat het ook anders kan, dan onze globale culturele eenheid. Het kunstwerk nodigt ons uit vragen te stellen aan, kennis te maken met, interesse te tonen voor de andere persoon.
By Theo,
Sunday Jack Akpan (born Ikot Ide Etukudo, 1940) is a Nigerian sculptor who has been described as "the contemporary African equivalent of the medieval artisan".[1]
He is most famous for his work in cement, in which he crafts traditional-style statues of tribal leaders and other figures, mainly as grave art, which he then paints; he has also created other types of commercial art, including religious figures and business signage.[2]
His work has been shown at the Venice Biennale[1] and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, among other venues.[1] Some of his work is in the collection of the Horniman Museum in London.’:
In May 1991, the exhibition titled Africa Explores opened in New York. Curator Susan Vogel presented more than 130 highly diverse works from 15 African countries in the Museum for African Art and the New Museum of Contemporary Art. With a mixture of different media and styles, Africa Explores set out to retell the story of 20th century art production in Africa from the perspective of the continent itself.
Concept and critical review
In both museums, visitors were greeted by life-sized objects at the entrance to the exhibition: a seated chief made of painted cement by the Nigerian artist Sunday Jack Akpan inaugurated the exhibition; next to this figure, coffins in the shape of cars, vegetables, or airplanes, sold in Ghana by the Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop since the 1950s, were on display.
The selection of these works made it clear right from the start that Susan Vogel, then director of the Museum for African Art, did not want to limit herself to one form of creative work. On the contrary, Africa Explores was about showing different art styles which, according to Vogel, equally represented 20th century art practice in Africa.
In the exhibition catalogue the curator describes five types of art which she was able to identify in her research: first of all, Traditional art, which was primarily practiced within ethnic groups and aimed to fulfill a particular purpose, such as masks used in certain rituals.
Vogel outlines New functional art as a new, eclectic form of this traditional art, making use of all kinds of materials and motives.
Popular art or Urban art represented the artisanal, commercial work by self-taught sign painters and graphic designers, while International art stood for the works of urban academic artists.
Finally, with ‘Extinct’ art the curator defines traditional art of the past, stored both in collective memory and museum collections.