Thursday, 22 September 2011

Enotie Ogbebor

Ogbebor returns in Eclectic Treasure
BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
(First published Apr 1-17, 2007)

THOUGH he has his roots in the bronze casting Igun community of Benin, Edo State, Enotie Ogbebor has opted for painting. 

  Ogbebor who made his debut solo art exhibition recently, is a self-taught painter.
  The show, Eclectic Treasure, which came about 10 years after the artist’s debut, was held last week at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos. It featured a body of work compiled over the last two years.
 ENVIRONMENT takes focus in some of the works presented such as Regatta d’Ilaje, where the artist brings to attention a community on the other side of acceptable habitation. 

   The corporate sector of the nation’s economy is one terrain the artist, a graduate of Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin, Edo State, claims familiarity. His view as regards the value of this secto – in a society such as ours – forms a series in the show.
In what he calls The Rat Race Series, Ogbebor challenges the corporate sector, particularly those who believes that life begins and ends at the high rise offices in central business districts of Lagos and Victoria Islands. At the end of the day, he argues that dissatisfaction remains the stories told by these carpetbaggers.
  Coming from such a long break out of the art scene, some other artists would have filled the gallery to the brim. Ogbebor, however, made do with just 25 pieces of Eclectic Treasures. “It is not the number of works that counts, but the quality of input,” he notes.
  Being in the corporate sector perhaps enhanced his chances of securing sponsors for the exhibition. Polo, a company that  deals in writing items and jewelery and Juno Foods were two sponsors the artist-cum-stock broker secured to support the exhibition.

OGBEBOR’S journey into the art started as a kid when his mother, Anne Ogbebor, whom he says “comes from the Igun” community, encouraged him by engaging private art teacher for him as well as ensuring that he had part of his holidays with the Igun bronze casters in Benin.
  He made his entry into the gallery in the group show, Celebration of Festivals in 1997, an event organised as part of activities to mark the centenary of the 1897 British incursion into the royal setting of the defunct Benin Kingdom.

  He explains that his long break from exhibition was not for lack of ideas.  “My works come to me in different phases, I try to represent what I perceive at the time. Constantly refining my technique to capture my experiences in colour and strokes, predominantly using palette knife and hoping to involve the viewer in a powerful cathartic experience.”
AND why not bronze casting? “I have found love in paiting. Art is art, the medium does not really matter.” Ogbebor’s works are mostly impressionistic, and in acrylic, using the palette knife as a tool.
  He is, however, influenced by travel tours with his parents to historical destinations like Greece, the Pyramids of Egypt, museums, the sphinxes, statue of Rameses, the ruins at Ethiopia, and other places across the world.


Enotie Ogbebor

From that background, the artist in him grew as he moved to Lagos to set up Curio Studio, with another artist Ehi Obinyan, at the Ritalori Hotel, Surulere, Lagos. The studio was relocated to the artist's residence in Iju hills in 2005.
  His art, which takes its roots in Benin, may have started leaving some landmarks as he claims that he was commissioned to produce works in commemoration of the centenary of the British invasion of Benin, by The Great Benin Centenary committee in 1996.

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