Where within us and how, when not in our conscious mind, are decisions formed then?
Emmie Nume, Ice Cream Hammock, 2022. Mixed Media on Canvas, 165 x 148cm. Courtesy of Afriart Gallery
Just as in life itself, art practice can be regarded as a continuous series of making decisions. Though not all decisions are made consciously, or else, we would spend much of our lifetime contemplating and overthinking our next moves. Where within us and how, when not in our conscious mind, are decisions formed then? In his creation process, Emmie Nume lets himself be guided by intuition, considered closest to the heart and gut, where decisions below the surface of the intentional take place. He allows the subconscious to take center stage. One decision organically gives birth to another, each decision becoming a layer within the work.
Being someone who thinks deeply and a lot, Nume tends to get consumed by the train of his thoughts. With his art practice, though, he found a way to let go, and creating becomes an act of reclaiming agency. The artist often feels “attacked by thoughts”, as he describes, and fends the attacks by releasing them within his process of creating. The head attacks and the heart responds through his material.
Nume’s art-making is essentially an embodied practice, negating any division between the physical and mental or emotional realm, and giving form to emotions. Troubled by his conscious mind, the heart, and gut become the hands and take over the task of decision-making, or ‘thinking’ – the thoughts manifesting seemingly effortlessly in the work. His passion and intention are in the process which is a source of healing, as well as a constant quest for freedom.
Highlighting the importance of the process in Nume’s work, this exhibition presents finished artworks as well as works-in-progress and sketches. Visitors are invited to personally engage with the work by picking up charcoal, paint or any other material themselves, and bringing the installation piece ‘When Thoughts Attack Us’ to life.
The exhibition will be on view from the 11th of February until the 15th of April 2023. For more information, please visit Afriart Gallery.