Manama, Bahrain: MENA’s leading international bank, Bank ABC, announced the creation and permanent installation of ‘The Face,’ a visual centrepiece of the façade of its newly renovated historic twin tower Head Quarter in Bahrain, by celebrated Nigerian- American contemporary artist Victor Ekpuk. The 5.4 meter tall sculpture is an abstract construct that is a tribute to Bahrain’s rich heritage, multi-cultural fabric and hospitable business climate, which empowered the Bank and the Kingdom’s other residents to grow and flourish over the years.
Bank ABC is undergoing an ambitious transformation as an institution; investing heavily in its digital infrastructure, developing new products and services and adopting a more agile and disruptive culture.
Commenting on the significance of the sculpture for the Bank, Dr. Khaled Kawan, Bank ABC’s Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “After reflecting on our 40-year journey as the Bahrain banking industry celebrates its 100 years this month, and to commemorate the renovation of our HQ Building, we commissioned Victor to create this unique and majestic art piece that cleverly connects our heritage and future aspirations. ‘The Face’ will outlive business cycles and peoples’ tastes and remain an eternal tribute to Bahrain and its people.”
Embodying local Bahraini elements, African influences, futuristic digital touch, and a contemporary artistic style, ‘The Face’ is representative of Bank ABC’s commitment to equality and diversity as well as its firm belief in the strong potential of the country’s young talent, who will advance its agenda to create positive change in the MENA region through disruptive banking solutions that accelerate inclusion and enhance lifestyles.
Bank ABC hosted a reception at its Head Office on 11 December 2019, in celebration of the sculpture and its creator. The function was attended by members of the local art community, Bank ABC staff and media representatives.
“How do you capture the essence of a people whose history is long and culture layered in centuries of civilizations? You look to their beautiful faces hoping to catch the essence of their memory,” remarked Victor, who was present at the event.
Victor’s art is guided by the aesthetic philosophy nsibidi “traditional” graphics, where sign systems are used to convey ideas. He re-imagines graphic symbols from diverse cultures to form a personal style of mark making that results in an interplay of art and writing. His art is focused on portraying the human condition through universally relatable and culture specific themes including family, gender, politics, and identity.
Victor Ekpuk has works in collections of Smithsonian National museum of African Art, Smithsonian National museum of African American Culture & History, Brooks Museum, The World Bank, Newark Museum, Hood Museum, Krannert Art Museum, United States Art in Embassies Art Collection.
Facts about The Face:
The sculpture is 5.3 meter tall and 4.3 meter wide.
It is made of painted stainless steel
Victor Ekpuk is a Nigerian-American artist. His studio is in Washington, D.C. USA. He is renowned for glyph-like paintings and drawings that are inspired by the aesthetic concepts of indigenous African writing systems and graphic symbols from diverse cultures. His work frequently explores the human condition, drawing upon a wide spectrum of meaning that is rooted in African and global contemporary art discourses.
Ekpuk, a Smithsonian Institution fellow, has works that have been featured in several international and national exhibitions; Aicon gallery, New York (2019), Get Up, Stand Up Now, Somerset House, London, UK (2019), Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, France (2017), North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA(2017), 12th Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba (2015) Dakar Biennial, Dakar, Senegal (2014) Auto-Graphics, Hood Museum, New Hampshire, USA (2015) and Krannert Art Museum, Urbana- Champaign, Illinois (2014), Inscribing Meaning, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art Washington DC and Fowler Museum Los Angelis (1998) Africa Now, Museum of Art and Design, New York (2011) Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2010) 1st Johannesburg Biennial, Johannesburg (1995).
He has works in collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture & History, Brooks Museum, The World Bank, Newark Museum, Hood Museum, Krannert Art Museum and the United States Art in Embassies Art Collection.
Ekpuk has been awarded several commissions by museums in the United States. In 2016, he was commissioned by The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art to design trophies awarded to recipients of the museum’s first African Art Awards. One of the recipients was Yinka Shonibare MBE. In 2017, he completed a large-scale 30ft x 18ft. centerpiece mural at the North Carolina Museum of Art. A commissioned 58ft mural “Essence of Memphis” at the Memphis Brooks Museum the site of a scene in Brian Banks the latest movie by Tom Shaydiac.