ARTIANA launches an NFT exhibition ‘The Mythical Metaverse’ and an African art exhibition ‘The Colours of Life’ in tandem

DUBAI: ARTIANA, the UAE’s first homegrown auction house for art and luxury collectibles, is pleased to announce the joint launch of Indian-origin, Paris-based artist Sakti Burman’s NFT-based and Ghana-born artist Kofi Agorsor’s exhibitions titled “Mythical Metaverse and The Colours of Life”. 

On view from March 9 – 31, 2022, at ARTIANA gallery space in DIFC P 2 – 1A, Damac Park Towers, Dubai, it combines the physical and the virtual, with science and technology serving as intermediary. 

Sakti Burman’s (b. 1935) NFTs are based on paintings of the artist which were in the oil on canvas medium; they are now are being introduced in their digital versions. 

Ghanaian painter Kofi Agorsor’s (b. 1970) work stands as joyous expressions of color and form. He is known for using bold and vibrant colors to portray the daily lives of people in modernizing Ghana. 

In the 1970s, Burman began experimenting with marbling effect works; by the 1980s, he had mastered the technique and it became his signature series. In 2015, he completed his final series of paintings employing the marbling process, making his work more collectible and coveted.His work has been offered at auctions multiple times, with realized prices ranging up to $330,000 USD, depending on the size and medium of the artwork. Since 1999, the record price for him at auction is USD330,000 for Reve, sold at ARTIANA in 2021. 

Burman’s paintings often evoke a surrealist feel, referencing multiplicities of time and place. His art drew extensively from Hindu and European mythology, as well as from the artist’s own memories. Suggesting surrealism, his paintings are populated by humans, animals and cityscapes that are dreamlike in appearance. His defining oeuvre owes largely to his technique of marbling, which he arrived at after years of experimentation. 

Burman’s lifelong dedication to painting is like the continuous musing of poets, intent on unveiling, little by little, from one thought and anecdote to another, the Sanskrit notion of “Maya” (indescribable divinity) and its ultimate influence behind every creative endeavor.

Perhaps his greatest export, from Asia to Europe and back, is the diversity of his own “fiction” with the myriad of colorful alternatives between its contrasts and all his heroes and heroines. Here is an artist who happily looks on the past with the eyes of the present, which for him is a recurrent continuum, like the greatest of all narratives – one’s own life story. 

Burman is the recipient of The Prix des Estrangers, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1956; Knight of the Legion of Honour, Government of France, 2016; and Medaille d’Argent au Salon de Montmorency.His most recent solo shows include a retrospective at the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi and Mumbai; Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata; and Dakshina Chitra, Chennai, among others. 

Kofi Agorsor is a painter, sculptor and musician, born in the Volta region of Ghana. He studied Architecture for two years, before switching to Art at the Accra Ankles College of Art, where he obtained his degree in 1989. 

Often in animated dynamics that is striking and modern, his canvases can be sparsely populated or they may be crowded. His works are often rendered in a gestural and semi-abstracted manner, and woven with visual stories, as rich as the African culture that serves as his inspiration.In his paintings, Agorsor uses pulsating colors that become an interpretation of the essence of lived experiences of Africans and the world at large.

 His subject matter borders on the generic, but is rendered often in a buoyant, semi-abstract and witty manner. His canvases may be sparsely populated; often with a solitary figure in a sensuous pose, two lovers enjoying the presence of each other. Or they may be very populated, inhabited by crowds of market women or glitterati at social events. Some of the canvases may be adorned with splashes, drips and flows of paint that intertwine to become forests or mazes of enchantment.

“On the soil of Ghana, I had a dream. When I woke up, I found myself permanently in Gagahuli, Ouida, in the Republic of Benin. This is how art is for me. “It is a constant battle between the material and the spiritual. To be an artist doesn’t just mean painting, playing music, sculpting or it also means opening up to such ideas as preserving and developing one’s spiritual cultural heritage into Science and Technology.” 

His work is generally about love and affection; about simple everyday situations such as relationships, music, religion and being at peace with one’s self and the world at large. Some people have commented that his work has characteristics that can be likened to a European or American’s interpretation of African life. Some would say it is the work of an African, interpreting the contemporary concerns of the age. Yet others say the work is universal. 

“I feel very universal,” Agorsor concludes. “I am always happy as an artist. Art makes me see both in the physical and the spiritual. The purpose of art then is about brightening the corner where you are. “The purpose of art is to be sound in mind, body and soul. It’s not about what others are doing or what someone decided. Art does not depend on someone prescribing a mainstream system. Art is freedom.”

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