Moods… Onwuka’s thrive in mono theme
BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
NYEMIKE Onwuka’s Moods, a solo show of paintings, mixed media and drawings, is a celebration of repetitive theme.
Shown at Homestores Gallery, Victoria Island, Lagos, the works depict that Onwuka has joined other artists, particularly younger artists who have stuck to a mono theme, form, technique and style.
Some critics of contemporary Nigerian art have observed that most artists are bereft of conceptual contents hence the flourishing of repeated themes.
For Onwuka, whose Moods draws a faint line between his past two solo shows Lines and Forms at Sachs Gallery, Victoria, Lagos, and Elegant Urban Decay at Arc Gallery, London, UK, his admirers and collectors, he says, determine the direction of his works.
Peculiar to his works are features such as elegant women, mostly in Igbo blouse and wrapper, distressed canvas and drizzling effects. When he had his first solo at Sachs Gallery in 2010, his style, technique and theme appeared refreshing. Over three years after, the artist seems to have found an identity in women figural, spiced with earth colour and distressed canvas.
|Day-To-Day (2011), A Painting By Nyemike Onwuka
He argues that if great masters of old stuck with one theme through out their career, it’s just morning for him. He explains, “most of my collectors just want me to paint these women.”
In fact, no sooner than the show started that the red tagging began to show on the walls.
In such works as Effusive, Broken Promise, Once Beaten Twice Shy, Trepidation and Contemplation series, Attitude of Gratitude and Enthusiasm, Nyemike’s consistent rendition of figures of the softer gender was greatly seen. This, perhaps, gives him a depth of knowledge in depicting diverse feelings. He explains, “though the theme of the show, Moods has no gender restrictions, my choice of women is unavoidable because I find the female figure more expressive.”
He discloses, “philosophically, beauty is the focal point of my art, and women epitomise it.”
And there is an extension of his last show Elegant Urban Decay, in which he highlighted the alarming lost of human value through urbanisation. That much he explains is the distressed canvas, insisting that the beauty of the woman is meant to diffuse this decay.
Populating his canvas with women poises would not diminish the artist’s skill of a fantastic draughtsman. In fact, this skill seems to be the urging factor that is keeping Onwuka glue to the ladies’ form.
|Nyemike Onwuka's Once Beaten, Twice Shy
PERHAPS to prove that his sticking to a mono theme is not for lack of idea, Onwuka showed just about three paintings and a drawing, which are in sharp contrast with the female themes. Such works include Entangled, Suitors and When We First Met, revealing comic rendition in impressionism form.
In a visual arts scene, where, most artists use the female theme to promote nudity and indecent public exposure, it’s quite strange that Onwuka’s canvas is largely free of such images. Even in Broken Promise, a depiction of failed relationship, his model, though flouts her beautiful legs, but the artist shows how to present the dignity in womanhood.
|Nyemike Onwuka in his studio
Between the periods of his first solo, Lines and Forms, and now, the drizzling effect has been softened and replaced with flowering. This to an extent appears to have removed a classic shade from his work, hence making it too common.
With his works featured at auctions such as ArtHouse Contemporary, Terra Kulture and Bonhams sales in the UK, the future appears bright for Onwuka.
In addition to his Art training at Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, he upped has skills when he studied Character Animation at Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa in 2008.