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Metamorphosis
Sokey Edorh’s mixed media paintings consistently balance the dual purposes of visually powerful imagery and intellectually critical analysis to make poignant commentaries on contemporary African social and political realities.

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SKOTO GALLERY 529 West 20th Street, 5FL.
New York, NY 10011 212-352 8058
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Metamorphosis

Sokey Edorh

Mixed media painting

September 4th – October 11th, 2008


Skoto Gallery is pleased to present Metamorphosis, an exhibition of mixed media paintings by the Togolese-born artist Sokey Edorh. This will be his first solo exhibition in New York City and the reception is on Thursday, September 4th, 6-8pm.

Sokey Edorh’s mixed media paintings consistently balance the dual purposes of visually powerful imagery and intellectually critical analysis to make poignant commentaries on contemporary African social and political realities. His artistic production is constantly informed by the need to work through the implications of language, symbolic systems, and communicative abstraction, using an elaborately conceived symbolic alphabet system, invented by him and nurtured within the compass of history both directly and allegorically throughout his work. The text, which he alone can decipher, draws inspiration from the ideograms that are found on the dwellings of the Dogon hunters in Mali, West Africa, and used in rapturous poetry that are addressed to the harvest gods as divine litany like that of the ancient Egyptians to their gods. To the artist, it is a fit metaphor for the liberation of oneself from dictatorial systems that forbid free expression.

Sokey Edorh’s pictures draw a line through time, from the prehistoric shaman’s encounters with malevolent spirits, through personal journeys and experiences, and with references to art history. There is a rough and ready quality about them, as they possess a muscular artistic language, physical materiality and visual complexity that enliven his themes and content with a rich and vibrant tactility They evince a rejection of traditional standards of composition and design, an ambivalent and often brittle emotional tone that reflect contemporary urban life and values, and a general lack of concern for pictorial idealization. The artist is constantly experimenting with new ideas and materials and unafraid of taking risks in his search for creative excellence. A trip to Korhogo in Northern Cote d’Ivoire shortly after returning home from his stay in France, sparked an interest in exploring the use of clay, a vessel for memories, history and regeneration, with earth-toned colors, and in abundance in Africa. Today, few contemporary artists match his epic reach with this medium.

Sokey Edorh was born in Tsévié, Togo, in 1955. He studied philosophy at the Universite du Benin, Lome 1984-86 before proceeding to France for further studies at Academie de Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, where he graduated in 1989. He is a widely traveled artist, who has exhibited widely in Africa, Europe and the US. He is in several public and private collections around the world including the National Museum of Art, Bamako, Mali; Fondation Jean-Paul Blachere, France; Lemhbruck Museum, Duisbourg, Germany and the Newark Museum, Newark, NJ among others. He is also the recipient of several awards including First Prize Young Painters award, TVT, Lome in 1977; Pollock-Krassner Award, 1993, Heinrich Boll Foundation award, Germany 1994 and the Prix Djamilatou Bikami at the 2008 Dak’art, Biennale in Dakar Senegal.