Thursday 22 September 2011

Jerry Buhari

Buhari’s image is Endangered
(First published in May, 2007
AT a point in the career of an artist, the public is given opportunity to appraise his or her works, especially the content, style and form. That opportunity was what painter, Jerry Buhari, gave recently at the Kashim Ibrahim Library, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, Kaduna, when he exhibited 75 works in the show titled, The Endangered Image.
  The exhibits, he claims, represent a sojourn of three decades. And if 30 years is taken away in the career of an artist, one could imagine how long the artist has been in practice.
  Curious, isn’t it?
  Buhari also used the show to make a statement on the importance of art, especially in a citadel of learning, where aesthetic canons are strictly upheld or tumbled, as the case may be. 
  But the artist in him cannot be limited just to his post training days. Therefore, the works on display cover his efforts from training period in 1978 to his graduation in 1982 and post-graduation programme from 1982 and 1986.

FOR observers, the story of how he honed his skills is very interesting. An artist full of expression, but, perhaps scared of the art gallery, is noticed in Desolution, an abstract piece of acrylic on canvas painted in 1982/83.
  Two to three years efforts spent on Mysterious and Elegant Remis (1985) and Test Tube Baby (1986), a mixed media, revealed an artist attempting to redefine his expression.
  From the simplicity of the former and the complexity of the later, Buhari blends the two ends in the mono print, Untitled 1 and oil on canvas, The Entrance, which were what he worked on between 1992 and 1998 .
  As the artist takes his viewers on this retrospective journey, he drives his them into some pockets of bumps; and when you think he has narrowed down to a particular technique, he bobs up with a dedicated line of maturity. This could be noticed in the manner the early and later works contrast in his aggressive use of strokes and shades midway into the three decades he has invested in the profession.

Mysterious, and much later, The Women Harvest, mud on paper as well as the recent Door and Locks (2006) confirm an artist, who is not in a hurry to impress anyone, but express himself as he sees the environment.
  However, Buhari breaks the compilation into some stages that have affected his immediate environment. “Later works of 1985 to date begin to take on issues and ideas conceptually by extending the boundaries of traditional expression,” he says and adds that further on from 1990s to date, he  has focused on socio-political issues of Nigeria and environmental concern in general.
  But his three decades of input, he cations, is inherently endangered as a result of “art’s organic nature and inability to physicalise its depth and width.”
  Naivety or reality, Buhari’s fear for the art is another subject to be unravelled, not in the art studio, but in the passage of time.
   BUHARI holds a M.F.A. of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He has had three solo shows and has also taken part in 38 group and seven international shows. A member of several professional associations, he teaches art at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, where he was formerly Dean, Faculty of Environmental Design.

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