The paintings presented in the book, The Naked Truth, were never intended to comfort and soothe the viewer. They may often reflect, instead, the "dreadful manners" described by Simon Schama in the introduction to his book, The Power of Art. "Merciless and wily," as with the paintings selected by Schama for his book, it is the intention of the paintings for this exhibit to "grab you in a headlock, rough up your composure, and then proceed in short order to rearrange your sense of reality."
"For me, this project began as a demonstration of ways in which art could spark dialogue on college campuses around the anger and cultural segregation ignited by protests with the shooting of another unarmed black man by police. As I worked on these paintings, time and world events caught up with me. The frequency and horror of violence and suppression escalated, magnifying social injustice, both nationally and internationally, including my home country of Nigeria."
"But to gain true life and meaning, these paintings must move the viewer beyond the initial reaction -tears, anger, denial - and as a starting point, defining and redefining issues in ways that people can move beyond slogans and intrenched beliefs, and into real dialogue." - Ephraim Urevbu
Each audience will be different, bringing personal experience and reflection and opinion. And every opinion matters. The wide range of historical events; of political and religious and personal perspective; means that various paintings will touch and affect audience members differently, spurring conversation. In that give and take of meaningful dialogue, gallery visitors may come around to individual responsibility - "what can I do?'" - and individual and group action plans through followup workshops and lectures. It can often be something as simple as teachers or students selecting one or two pieces of the art and connecting on a personal level through the creation of poetry, music, video, dance, or their own interpretation of the issue or event. Where politics so often fail, these elements of cultural diplomacy can open new lines of communication and reasonable action plans that can be embraced by communities.