Jacqueline Suowari’s traveling exhibition, Now I Wear Myself, hit the city of Lagos on the 9th of October 2021 and it’s nothing like we’ve ever seen before. The opening night was filled with numerous creatives ranging from photographers to fashion designers all marvelling at the astonishing pieces Jacqueline had created. Jacqueline’s 9-piece exhibition is currently housed on the walls of the African Artists’ Foundation in the heart of Victoria Island Lagos.

The evening started off slow, with the cozy backyard of AAF sparsely occupied. There’s myself, another lady with a face mask and shades, a lowly reporter from Channels and a guy whispering “Mic one two. One two check, mic one two.” repeatedly into the microphone. Things started to pick up at around 6pm, music had begun and the backyard started filling up with pairs and groups of people.

The showroom inside the building was filled with 4 feet long paintings that simply awed each eye that beheld it. Like Jacqueline had mentioned in her recent interview with Tush, her work has an effect on people. I spent several minutes taking in each work and the details put into every piece alongside interpreting each stroke and color used in her pieces. The 9-piece exhibition features paintings of people who look and feel like people we know. There’s some form of personality to each piece that makes it seem like you’re staring at a friend rather than some random painting.

Shortly before the artist’s tête-à-tête with artist and gallerist, Oliver Enwnonwu and Culture Officer at Alliance Francaise, Manon Barbé, Jacqueline performed a pantomime that was inspired by the theme of the exhibition. The dance performance featured bits and pieces of recent happenings in Nigeria such as the#EndSars protest.

The panel session included discussions about Jacqueline’s inspiration behind the exhibition alongside the true meaning behind the theme of the exhibition, Now I wear Myself. It was interesting to watch the three of them share their personal interpretations of what it is to ‘wear oneself’. Manon revealed her interpretation of the theme would include ones utmost vulnerability and nakedness. A state void of adornment or pretence. Jacqueline shed light on how ‘wearing oneself’ to her, means expressing one’s authentic through adornment.

The discussion was rather insightful as Jacqueline also discussed a few of her favourite pieces, The Energy Within and Transcendence. She also opened up about the need to showcase her work around the world and not just the few thousands in Abuja, Nigeria.

Jacqueline Suowari has made it clear she’s ready to take on the world and Nigerians will be there to back her all the way. Now I Wear Myself is open up until October 26, 2021 at the African Artists’ Foundation, Victoria Island, Lagos.

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