Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tolu Aliki

Sunday, 28 August 2011 00:00
FROM his ‘early  education’, Tolu Aliki appears to have found an identity that promotes juvenile-like expression.When his signature appeared on the art scene few years ago, it looked too fragile to withstand the crowded environment. But he has since proved critics wrong, going by the visibility of his works in public and private places.
Even, abroad higher prospect seems to be knocking at his door already.
Aliki will from Saturday, September 3 to 10 hold his third solo show titled Intimate Moments at Nike Art Gallery, Lekki, Lagos.
However, with his gradual entry into the scene, though avoiding the pop art characteristics, which his works slightly lean towards, Aliki’s skills in Intimate Moments would have to prove if, indeed, that fragile texture has finally disappeared.
My Stallion and I (acrylic on canvas) 3 x 4.5 feet
His largely pastel works seem to thrive on themes that touch on feelings. Intimacy, as suggested by some of them, is not necessarily about human relationships, but the chemistry that exists between man and pets.
Short of putting these works in series, My Stallion and I and Riding Tall as well as a few others, tell an animated story that could be of interest to humanists and conservationists.
For those who have strong emotional attachment to the pasts, as the artist’s choice of stylised form depicts, the landscape, Growing Up Here Was Good and a portraiture-like self-appraisal, Memories of My Younger Days, are nostalgic. “My painting is about love, passion and music,” he says.
On passion, Aliki’s long preference for pastel has been broken with the arrival of acrylic on his palette. He says over 10 years involvement in pastel is enough to consider another medium. “I have worked with pastel to a state of satisfaction.”
Two years ago, he had argued that pastel makes him spontaneous. That, it is imagined would not take away the lucid and proactive expression, now that acrylic is the choice.

AS a self-taught artist, he has, surprisingly wormed his way into the heart of collectors and galleries in Lagos, despite not having any ‘school’ or ‘master’ identity to cling on to.
It’s been tough, he says, “but thanks to my training in Mass Communication.”
Perhaps, part of the lift he needed came when he joined the ‘family’ of Ikoyi — Lagos-based Mydrim Gallery.
His works featured in the 8th edition of the gallery’s yearly pastel show titled New Page in 2005. “Yes, it was a strong lift for me,” he notes.
And if his claim of a tight work schedule late last year was anything to go by, sustaining this relative success, perhaps, moving a step further wouldn’t be an uphill task. However, Aliki has to preempt his admirers by not being predictable; a bit of radical edge, within this established toning and theme on canvas could just secure the future for him.
Perhaps with a taste of foreign show, the challenge of sustaining his kind of art would be surmounted. “Last year my show titled Evolution in Portugal was very encouraging. Though not much sales due to the economic recession in Europe, responses from visitors were encouraging.”


SOME of his past shows include, Art on the Mainland at the National Council for Arts, National Theatre Iganmu, Lagos, 2008; ArtExpo, (Nigeria) National Commission for Museum Monument (Nkem Gallery), Onikan, Lagos, 2008; Juried Exhibition, Society of Nigerian Artists’ October Rain, National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.

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