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Ameh Egwuh at Rele Gallery


The Nigerian-based Rele Gallery recently opened an LA outpost on a posh block of Melrose Ave. Their second show, by Lagos-based Ameh Egwuh, delights the minute you walk in with pink balloons that carpet the gallery floor. The balloons, which also float serenely between each painting on the gallery walls, appear in painted form in each work, often propping up an ethereal figure that acrobatically floats upwards.

In one, a line of balloons buttress a figure’s back as if pushing him skyward towards another plane of existence. Symbols of transition make their way into the paintings as well—a pocket watch, a tombstone, doves, clouds, a broken hourglass—yet all the central figures feel serene in their passage. Each character has been adorned with striped patterning instead of skin, implying a fluid state of being. The exhibition, titled “Life After Life” pictures a joyful transition between life and death, one that feels radically healing after a year of so many losses.

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Photo: Ameh Egwuh, “Life After Life,” installation view. Image courtesy of Rele Gallery, Los Angeles. Paul Salveson, Courtesy of Rele Gallery Los Angeles.