Chizea's Cockerel of pastelsBY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
(First published April 29-May 7, 2007)
Whatever line drawn between science and art is perhaps not in parallel as academics wants us to believe, but complementary.
This is what architect and self-taught painter, Tony Chizea’s art exhibition, Cockerel held recently at the Terra Kuture, Victoria Island, Lagos seemed to have stressed as it also brought out ingenuity in an artist who belongs to the two worlds of creativity.
Chizea’s soft colour touch captures three ladies in a dance movement. The dancers’ geles (head tie), balanced on their heads, beads resting gracefully on pastel, toned fleshy skins and the white iros (wrapper) combine for an impression painting that glues one’s gaze to this blend.
And where black comes into the piece, the artist’s sense of balance that nearly hid the black horse tail of the dancers takes nothing away from the work he calls Procession of the Matrons, a scene that suggests joyous mood in the nation’s most volatile region, Niger Delta.
It’s a different tale in Time Goes By as Chizea brings in to focus the other side of joy in another two women: a profile and frontal views of the figures in loose veils, affirms the beauty of impressionism boosted by pastel in the touch of an artist who understands the language of the medium.
Though the exhibition of 40 works was dominated by pastels, there were others in acrylic and oil. A deviation is one of the titles in oil on canvas, Spice Stalls, a scene of non-designated market activities common in parts of Lagos, the piece, perhaps exposes the gap between the artist’s prowess in pastel and less flexibility in the oil medium when it comes to impressionistic expression.
In Night Watch, Chizea gets close to his soft touch exploits of pastel as another medium, charcoal used in the work seems to offer the artist lesser room to ventilate. Interestingly, this work of a serene atmosphere tells the story more from an atmospheric view rather than a human figural perspective.
While the there is no sign of a sky line, and maybe absence of source of light, neither of elecricity or moon light, one cannot but share this lonely scene with the supposedly night guard.
A one time naïve artist who admits that he used to feel intimidated among trained artists, particularly during group exhibitions, Chizea’s strokes and choice of colours can stand him shoulders with top names, even in he crowd.
In the science of architecture and art of impressionism, Tony chizea is immersed in the two fields of creativity.
He had his debut show in 1986 in the group exhibition organised in colaboration with the famous Abayomi Barber school, to mark the 25th Anniversary of University of Lagos, where he graduated.
Some of his group shows, home and abroad, include Africa 95 Arts Fair, Mirrors of Society, Dimensions of Humanity, Topoon 96 and the 1st Nigerian-Chiina Arts and Crafts Exhibition.
And last year, he did an appraisal of his career with the solo outing, Two Decades, which he says, was review of "my 20 years in visual art."