Saturday, 20 August 2011

Araism 1


In the Shadow of Araism
Sunday, 23 July, 2006 17:57
Stud Big, an Araism piece
BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
WHEN an artist sets out to be different, even from his idol artists, he knows he has only himself to compete with: he makes a mark selling his brand of art that stands out in the crowd.
  And what about some kind of followership, breeding others to paint in his chosen style?
This far, painter, Mufu Onifade has gone with his form, which he calls Araism, a peculiar kind of painting that covers the entire canvas with some pattern, irrespective of what is in the background.
  Out of the lots who, under Onifade, have been learning the art form, few have emerged as what the Araism ‘prophet’ called "five disciples." Presentation of the works of these loyal artists was part of the launching of the Araism Movement, recently on Saturday July 22, 2006 at the Harmmatan Workshop Gallery, Victoria Island, Lagos. The exhibition runs through Saturday July 29, 2006.
  The show though unveils the passion in this new form, but the works of Onifade and that of his disciples are, every inch, similar.
From Olaniyi Omojuwa’s Lagos Yellow I, a piece on the common chaotic traffic on Lagos roads where pedestrians and the notorious yellow buses compete for space, to Tope Oguntuase’s Onijo Ara, Jonathan Ikpoza’s Ori Eni Lawure II, Akande Abiola’s Prosperity and Oludotun Popoola’s Alabaro II, to mention a few, the shadow of Onifade’s art thickens. Out of the 34 works at the event, the teacher presented six paintings.
  But one of Onifade’s works After Mister Biigz, acrylic on canvas stirs one’s interest as a satire of sort. Piercing directly into fast food lovers’ nutritional behaviour and response of the digestive system, the artist takes us too far into the realm of nudity.
 As much as the concept of a lady in stool is better communicated without clothing the figure, a frontal reflection of same, in the toilet’s mirror is, to say the least, offensive art. 
Mufu Onifade
   Araism, though has a Yoruba undertone for wonder, but, Onifade states that it is also an acronym for “Aesthetically Rich Art”, the concept of which started in 1989. Between 1990 and now, the artist who, in 1998 at the Goethe Institut, Victoria Island, Lagos, launched his Araism art and had another show, Thought in Araism at the French Cultural Centre, Ikoyi Lagos in 2005, discloses that he had trained 25 artists in the technique of Araism.
  As Onifade takes a place in the history of Nigeria art with the launch of Araism Movement, which had the five disciples issued with a certificate each, there is a question that time will answer: how far can the shadow of this art take his disciples, who, with Onifade, has set out on a journey of tight rope? For the disciples, the distance is longer compared to the teacher’s.
 Onifade was born October 5, 1966 at Oyo, Nigeria. He attended The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Nigeria; African Art Museum and Training Institute, Debre-Zeit, Ethiopia and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.


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