In collaboration with pre-eminent African curator Azu Nwagbogu, Gazelli Art House announces the solo show from James Ostrer entitled Johnny Just Came (2018). In this exhibition, Ostrer, who is known for his politically challenging works, unpacks his own relationship to racism, greed, self-loathing, and the cultural context from which they come from. Through large-scale installation, video and his signature semi-permanent sculpture, the artist elucidates a colonialist, consumerist, and misogynistic interplay played out by white male dysfunction on a global and personal level.
Ostrer believes that as someone in a privileged position, he should question himself directly, both as a white person and as a male, because both are identifiers of a dominant position in a global society that encourages conflict. He says, “My current interest lies around trying to convert the narcissistic tendencies of an artist’s need for attention into a wider dialogue that reverberates across the social power constructs that bind us all”.
The exhibition takes its title from the urban slang for an African who has recently arrived in a Euro- American megalopolis such as London, Johnny Just Come, or JJC. In this instance, the artist is reversing the power dynamics of that well-worn postcolonial route by placing himself in the position of Johnny, the newbie in town and an alien experiencing a culture for the first time – based on his own experience of visiting Lagos, Nigeria.