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The Power of Choice: Is Love - A Solo Exhibition by Henri Abraham Univers Opens at Retro Africa Gallery, Abuja

“The Power of Choice: Is Love,” a solo exhibition by French-Burkinabe artist, Henri Abraham Univers, is currently showing at Retro Africa Gallery in Abuja, Nigeria until September 9, 2024. 

The exhibition which opened private viewing on June 28, 2024, unveils works that capture the vivid imagination of Henri Abraham Univers and showcases the versatility of his practice. At the heart of the exhibition lies Univers' profound meditation on the significance of choice in our lives. His canvases, dominated by dark backgrounds punctuated by bursts of light and vibrant florals, serve as a metaphorical representation of the human journey - the constant interplay between darkness and light, the struggle between good and evil. Through this series of paintings, the artist focuses on the guiding presence of guardian angels, urging viewers to align with divine providence and choose light over darkness.

Oxygen, courtesy of the artist and Retro Africa

"The Power of Choice: Is Love" walks by into the transcendent power of love, a force that Univers believes is intrinsically linked to the divine. His works feature repeated motifs such as the globe with a question mark and the word "Choice", serving as mantras that challenge the audience to recognize the impact of their individual decisions on the collective human experience. 

"At the end of this contemplative journey, different elements of this array of works will resonate differently with each viewer, depending on each person's history, belief system and outlook on life," shares Univers. "For me, love goes with the soul and the flesh of God. It's a part of God. As soon as we are love, we are God."

The exhibition features a selection of 10 new paintings by Univers, as well as a site-specific installation and a soundscape. The gallery space is transformed into a physical extension of the artist's studio, enveloping visitors in a serene, star-filled environment that mirror the tranquillity and contemplation that guides Univers' creative process.

"I am reminded of the biblical verse, 'I was blind but now I see,' alluding to the revelation and clarity that comes from choosing stillness, choosing to listen to an imposing and objective truth within the overwhelming confusion and noise of life's distractions," says Retro Africa Founder Dolly Kola-Balogun. "This clarity occurs solely at the crossroads where the will chooses to die to itself, offering its blindness up to the ultimate essence of purifying love."

The "The Power of Choice: Is Love" exhibition at Retro Africa Gallery is a thought-provoking and transformative experience, inviting visitors to embark on an introspective journey that explores the profound mysteries of the human condition through the lens of Univers' captivating artistry.


About Henri Abraham Univers

Born in Paris into a mixed heritage family, Henri Abraham Univers first studied Cinema at the

CLCF (Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français) in Paris. However, he quickly returned to his

childhood love of drawing and painting when he realized those mediums granted him much

more artistic freedom. After a stint in New York, Ouagadougou and Paris, he moved to London

in 2010. From 2013 he devoted himself to his passion full-time. The following year, in 2014,

he was selected to exhibit at the prestigious Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts

in London. Henri Abraham Univers' paintings are distinguished by cosmological themes and

a selection of repeated elements, such as sprinkles of white stars against a black background.

They symbolize the sky, which he says is ever present regardless of what is happening in the

world, and reference love and the oneness of humanity. His artworks are in private collections

in Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States.

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The Power of Choice: Is Love - A Solo Exhibition by Henri Abraham Univers Opens at Retro Africa Gallery, Abuja

July 1, 2024

Art Report Africa

3 min read

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