When Brooklyn’s Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) planned its reopening after the COVID-induced hiatus, it was with Dennis Osadebe’s Inside Out,participatory virtual exhibition and “Playful Rebellion,” an interactive game developed by the artist. Together they explore the foundational themes of his practice such as history, innovation, heritage, and the possibilities of the future.

Guests are able to take a virtual stroll through the Nigeria-based artist’s latest work with its bold geometric style, and a nod to heritage and relevance to todays ripped-from-the-headlines themes of collective social reckoning against police brutality and white supremacy. The pieces were created in response to the following questions to which the artist sought answers: “Does the armor that we wear shield us from public harm or protect us in private spaces?” “Do we recognize ourselves in the performance of those identities?” “Where do we take shelter?” “Are we strangers at home?” and “What resides in this living testimony teetering between two pandemics, structural racism and COVID-19?”

Dennis Osadebe is a Nigerian mixed-media artist, based in Lagos. Osadebe’s vibrant post-pop style is centered around the idea of reimagining Africa through the use of positive, provocative, and progressive imagery, and narratives, forging a dialogue where tradition meets invention and innovation. Through juxtaposing elements of the past alongside the present, while utilizing his Nigerian heritage as a starting point, Osadebe places Africa in the context of the future and its limitless possibilities.

Osadebe works in what he refers to as a “NEO” visual style, one that is modern, bright, and expressive. Osadebe coined the cultural movement, ‘Neo-Africa’ as a response to deconstruct what he sees as the limiting, lazy term of ‘African Art.’ This encourages people to rebrand tradition in a way that reflects the transforming world.


“Inside Out” will be on view beginning Oct. 29, 2021, through February 13, 2022. For more information, visit: https://mocada.org/dennis-osadebe-inside-out

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