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Uthman Wahaab lives and works between Lagos, Nigeria, and the United Kingdom. Under his notion that modernity is a state of aspiration, glamour, and desire to be truly ourselves, Uthman Wahaab is an artist who possesses an overarching interest in social phenomenon; yet, he is not concerned with consistent use of medium or even singular aesthetic style. Utilising the disciplines of painting, graphics design, film, photography, sound, sculpture and installation, Wahaab’s work positions a critical lens at social phenomenon not only within Africa but also globally. He is keenly critical of the impact of technology on shifting cultural structures and the complex conundrum of navigating traditional values and socioeconomic progress. Born in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria in 1983 and raised in Lagos, he received a degree in Fine Art from the School of Art, Design and Printing, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. Wahaab’s work has been shown internationally to wide acclaim in Africa, Europe and the USA. He is currently represented by Sapar Contemporary in New York City.

Uthman Wahaab spent 4 weeks at K-AiR expanding his practice into the realm of textile-based art, installation,  sculpture and performance with focus on talismanic practices, objects, and his ongoing interrogation of spirituality in Islam. The residency served as a space for Wahaab to develop his recent series, ‘Khalwa Room’. The series is a reflection on his family;s long practice of Sufism, the Islamic practice closely associated with mysticism and spirituality.

Speaking of his project at the residency, he said, “Drawing on my formative years with my family and my family archive, I will be creating a hybrid concept of the concept of Khalwa as a way of healing and attaining a higher level of spirituality in Islam. Through film, performance, large-scale tapestry, sculptural installation and an interactive project with the general public, the project triggers a conversation around the idea of charm and juju, and how language promotes condemnation of these indigenous practices.”

In 2024, Uthman Wahaab presented the second iteration of the Khalwa Room at the National Museum, Lagos, and as part of the Lagos Biennial Offsite events.

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