Thursday 15 September 2011

Hakeem Adedeji

Banking good, Photography sweeter
(First published Nov 26 -Dec 2, 2006)

Falaise de Bandiagara, Mali, photo by Hakeem Adedeji
FROM appreciation to collection, passion for the art is incomplete
without one being active in the creative process.
Banker and photo enthusiast, Hakeem Adedeji must have arrived at this conclusion as he has extracted art from leisure and globetrotting, telling the story of the African continent through
his camera – another kind of story, devoid of war and poverty.
Stunning photographs of undisturbed lands in the continents from 11 countries taken by Adedeji in the last four years are heading for an exhibition which opens soon at the Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.
 Recently, Adedeji unveiled to his guests about 50 pictures from the quiet setting of Mali, Togo, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Durbar and Osun Osogbo festivals in Nigeria.

One of Hakeem's captures: A Mosque in Bandiagara, Mali

One of the works, Serenity, exposes Ganvie in Cotonou, Republic of Benin where the inhabitants live in houses built on stilts.
Adedeji’s camera opened its shutter for action at the period the canoes used for fishing were at rest. The surface of the waters as shown in the work may not be as clean, but the low green belt and the blue skyline offered nature in its inviting mood.
Beyond the opportunity to see Ganvie in picture, Adedeji brings food for thought that could make people in authority here. Ganvie, he discloses, is a town of 30,000 inhabitants, who in spite of the creek nature of the their environment and shelters on water,
enjoy constant potable water and electricity supply.
About 1, 300 kilometres drive from Lagos, the banker went further and took several shots in Mali. Regarded as the Venice of Africa, the town of Mopti in Mali also features in this presentation as well as Timbuktu River said to be an extension of River Niger.
Back home, the photo artist captured the Kano Durbar scene in different creative contents. One of the presentations from the Northern Nigeria scene, a horse back, looks like brush strokes of a painting, a shot made possible by movement of the camera,
resulting in a blur image.

Goree Island, Senegal, photo by Hakeem Adedeji

HAVING been part of several art expositions, he has assisted artists
to stage exhibitions and has "over 150 collections of contemporary Nigerian art pieces from different artists."
Adedeji in 1996, after a trip to Cotonou resolved to take his passion
for the camera beyond the leisure. While he has shown so much enthusiasm about photography, pictures taken during that trip did not meet his expectation, he recalls.
"But I was not going to give up. I got introduced to the professional and art teacher, Don Barber, who took me through the whole gamut of photography," he says.
OF the countries visited during the shooting of this documentary,
Adedeji confesses that Mali and Senegal are close to his heart.
Malians, he observes are still glued to their culture. The country is alive with art in its architecture, crafts and leather works, he says. "I also found Senegal very interesting. The Senegalese live very comfortably with their African, Islamic and French heritage."
For Adedeji, photography is a leisure that offers another life away from the digits, perhaps, something to look forward to in the future given the proficiency displayed in the presentation.

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