As you step into the gallery at The Koppel Project New Bond Street, the vibrant colors of Promise O’nali‘s paintings immediately grab your attention.
The ongoing exhibition titled “Falling into Dream,” curated by Ifèdolapo Onikoyi, invites you to immerse yourself in the realm of the subconscious, where the line between reality and dreams is blurred. Taking inspiration from ancient Egypt, where dreams were believed to be messages from the gods and a way to glimpse into the future, O’nali invites you to explore the depths of your own consciousness and consider the ways in which your dreams and desires shape your reality.
As you move through the exhibition, the swirling patterns and symbolic imagery draw you into a world of self-discovery. The use of circles, human contours, and other signature elements evoke a sense of balance between the physical and abstract aspects of our existence.
The fusion of techniques that transcend traditional painting processes, combined with the vibrant color palette ranging from vibrant to hearty, create a rich imagery and symbolism that will stay with you long after you leave the gallery.
“Falling into Dream” is a powerful reminder of the potential for growth and transformation that exists within each of us. Through O’nali’s thought-provoking pieces, you are invited to embrace the unknown and chart your own path towards a brighter future.
When and how did you decide that this is an important work that needs to be seen by the world?
I have known Promise for a few years now and his works speak volumes on subjects dealing with the subconscious. In a world where everything is defined and getting more and more controlled, it is important to also showcase the other side of the coin, reminding mankind that our subconscious is as powerful as our consciousness if not more powerful. That is why I believe Promise’s work needs to be shared with the world.
Can you describe the experience that a viewer might have when exploring the “Falling into Dream” exhibition? How will it encourage viewers to engage with the concept of consciousness in a unique and meaningful way?
The “Falling into Dream” exhibition encourages viewers to explore the concept of consciousness in their own unique way, viewers are invited to explore the depths of their own consciousness and discover the power of dreaming. The exhibition encourages viewers to reflect on their own thoughts and feelings and to explore the possibilities of dreaming and how it can shape our lives. We live in a day and age where we are consuming and storing information throughout the day. How does this really affect us? Does it affect our subconscious and if it is the case, in what way? The exhibition really invites us to explore within ourselves the various possible answers.
How does the artist’s take on Ancient Egypt, as a source of inspiration, differentiate this exhibition from others exploring similar themes?
The artist explores the idea that dreams are the best way to receive inspiration or even messages from the gods like in ancient Egypt. Keeping this in mind Promise infused movement into his paintings implying a floating sensation echoing a dreamy state.
Can you elaborate on the significance of dreams and the subconscious in shaping our reality, as depicted in the exhibition?
As I previously mentioned conscious and subconscious work as a pair and therefore have an influence on each other. You can therefore observe the repetitive use of circles, human contours or faces with closed eyes expressing the balance between physical (embodied by body contours and faces) and abstract ( symbolized by circles).
In his paintings, we clearly see that the illusion of movement created through the use of Uli linear technique intensifies the importance of the subconscious in our reality.
Can you elaborate on the use of mixed media and the Uli linear technique in the works?
Having studied art at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, the philosophy of exploration and experimentation was inculcated in the students, boring from this philosophy, the artist has carried this unique technique into his practice and over a period of ten years, he has added a number of unconventional materials in his works, these include wire gauze, lace fabrics, aluminium and gold foil, tribes and ropes, paper, fabrics and polystyrene. Using unconventional materials stems from the Nsukka art school philosophy of synthesising tradition and local materials, mediums, ideas and motifs into the art-making process. The Uli lyricism as well as the synthesising of unconventional materials has become a staple in the Promise O’nali’s art process.