Saturday 3 December 2011


Fayemi's love for women, children in Eloquent Narrative
By Tajudeen Sowole

(First published, Wednesday, October 15, 2008)  
ONE year after a Nigerian photographer from the Diaspora, Dr. Olusegun Fayemi brought a rare form of photo art into Africa, the artist returns with a mission to keep exploring the world of digital photography.
   At a preview held recently at the venue of the show, Fayemi, a U.S.-based Professor of Pathology said the exhibition titled Eloquent Narrative, an Exhibition of Fine Art Digital Photo Painting would open this Saturday, 18, October, 2008 at Quintessence Gallery, Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos.
   Explaining his art, the artist took his audience through what he described as the evolution of his technique and why he remains, undauntedly focused on image rebirth for Africa.
"The novelty of my work lies in the fact that I start from a black and white negative and then proceed assiduously to enhance and transform the images in such a way that they are elevated to an art form. That transformation may include introduction of color or other dynamic processes that may make the image appear 'painterly'."
  In addition to exhibiting his work, which dwells on African children and women, he has also published two books in which quite a large number of his non-painterly shots, taken across the continent, features to show the world the beauty of Africa.
  For his second coming, Fayemi said he dug into the realm of the technicality involved as well as the cultural essence of the intellectual contents to arrive at the theme, Eloquent Narrative. This, he added, would have on display about 19 familiar ones while 26 exhibits produced from further experimentation also make the show.
   His passion to use his art to promote Africa before the rest of the world must have been yielding results as he explained that some of the works, particularly of African women and children, had offered alternative perspective to audience whenever he presented the show. Also through the two books he has authored, responses, he noted have vindicated the image-rebirth focus through photography.
"I feel disturbed when I see images of African children taken from war and famine parts of the continent. Such stories are not true of the African children I know: they go to school like any other children in Europe and America, play and have fun; aspire to be the best in future endavours," Fayemi argued. Someone like him and others who are doing well home and abroad, he explained, were raised from the same Africa."
  Fayemi, a visiting Prof of Pathology and formerly of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, argued that the softer gender and children are more exciting in photograph. With 25 years experience in documentary photography of native Africans and Africans in the Diaspora, one would need a stronger and superior argument to dispute his claims. "Children do exciting things that adults don't. Women are more colourful and creative with their choice of wears compared to men," he stressed.
   He is the author of three books: Windows to the Soul: Photographs Celebrating African Women, Voices From Within: Photographs of African Children, and Balancing Acts: Photographs from West Africa. All books published in the US.
   His nomadic approach to get the kind of images he wanted the rest of the world to see of his continent has taken him to over 10 countries across the continent.
  For an artist whose work was the first to attract the red thumb during the maiden edition of ArtExpo Nigeria held at the National Museum, Onikan, his current partner, Quintessence Gallery must have picked on the right artist to exhibit at this period of the year.
  The gallery stated: "Eloquent Narrative is a reflection and an opportunity to dialogue in an attempt to look into the future. This spectacular showing is a display of fresh ideas and the gallery is excited to show them to art critics, lovers of arts and collectors."
  The pathologist-cum-photo artist was trained in photography by Alex Harsely and Richard Sternschuss of New York, U.S. at the New School for Research and the International Centre for Photography and Zone VI Studios, Newfane, Vermount.

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