Contemporary Art From Africa: Sor Sen Exhibits “Sentiments”


Sor Sen’s art exhibition is set to open our hearts to a period of joy. Cafe de Vie will be housing the 4-day exhibition that explores the theme of sentiments.  How does art make you feel, especially contemporary African art? 

Abuja-based fine artist Sor Sen has got a lot to explain in his artist statement. Take a read before you head to the art exhibition opening on December 4.

From a more traditional point of view, we revere logic. To delve into sentiments it appears that one is intellectually lazy, ineffectual and wrong. Like most cultural essentials this is cooked up in a manner that most people do not see it. This lead many people to make every effort to ‘make sense’, thinking that rationality is the best way to measure everything inclusive of emotional issues which is wrong!

For example, if someone backs up an opinion with tables, charts and graphs then calculates’ facts’ which he uses to support  ‘conclusions’ then we are more likely to accept his results.  His opinions bear more weight than does an opinion based on emotion purely. But this is a misnomer that has gone on for so long. The mind conceives from a subconscious state before it adjusts to the state of ‘rationalization’.

The above foregoing could be likened with the current trends in the visual arts, nowadays its quite fashionable for one’s artwork be tagged ‘contemporary’ and ‘conceptual’ these two terms are often monopolized with clear cut ideas, explored in a more systematic manner. Some artists who indulge in this often think of being ‘superior’ or ‘complex’ in thoughts.

For me what is core in the visual arts, it’s about individual self expression, when that thought becomes raped by extraneous forces, subjected to ‘mechanical thinking’ that leads to a product. It ceases to be art. But again, I live in times when just anything could be termed art. Who am I to castigate?

Sentiments, within the context of this exhibition explore ways the mind works from creating a ‘new reality’ from a material existence. It’s a flirt of ideas guided by habitual conceptions and subjective opinions. These ideas indicates their immediacy, diversity, multiplicity, instantaneity and contradictions. As an artist for me it has always been about trusting the process not necessarily being clever with the process.


If art isn’t about ‘sentiments’, what could it be for? I have always been challenged with ‘little stories’ tied to my emotions in order to search these subjects in a sensitive approach in my quest to reveal the endless possibilities or complexities abound in them.

On this premise, Works in this exhibition do not seek to validate reality, or create ‘a new’. The reality presented here is vastly personal and sentimental.

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