Amodu…brushing in Sacred precints
BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
IT took over two decades of creative sojourn, for the painter Rasheed Amodu to arrive at what he describes as his artistic zone. This much he expressed in a recent show, featuring paintings, mixed media and drawings.
Titled Sacred Precincts, the show, which held at Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), Lagos, revealed Amodu’s creative prowess.
|Rasheed Amodu's Mixed media Sacred (2011)|
Aside from the spiritual tone of the title, the contents of the show, to a large extent, appears a continuation of the artist’s metaphysical expression also projected in his last solo outing, Peculiar Parts, three years ago.
The artist declares: “I have experimented with different media before getting to my Sacred Precinct.”
He says it’s all about the awareness of sacred in the limit of possibilities and man “conquering the fearless frontier of creativity.”
Amodu notes that the mastery of art leads to the production of classics, which cuts across various disciplines such as literary output in critiques, review and other theoretical expressions as well as oral rendition.
According to him, “I am encouraged by this fact and never to look back. I trudge on fearlessly in my creative odyssey on colours and anything in my artistic expression.”
However, that search for a comfort zone of creativity is not in conflict with the artist’s loyalty to Ona group, an art movement formed in the early 1990s to promote Yoruba aesthetics value. This, he explains in one of the works, Window into my Onaistic Soul. “It’s an Ona-inspired naturalistic portrait.”
STILL on creative identity, the softening of the metaphysical content in Amodu’s work appears like a subtle compromise.
An artist, he responds, does not live or work in isolation of the society’s pulse. Within the space of identity, it’s still possible to accommodate people’s view. The softening “is in reaction to an observation that my work was too loud in mysticism. In fact, some people say, the contents were scaring.”
And for those who are excited by the chill of metaphysical characters, there are still bits of such contents in works such as Higher Court Judges, Kindred, Playmates and Mask of Evolution. Even in a supposedly landscape piece, Mega City Dream, as well as drawings, this spiritual part of the artist’s identity, which he wants to suppress, would not just go so easily.
In another of such work, Heaven’s Gate, he explains, “is a classical and academically inspired’ abstractive rendition ‘in a personalized creative diction of yore and present trials.”
Also, Reflections of Wonder, he says, “is a naturalistic depiction waltzed in an abstracted sun, with his timeless rays reflecting on the water surface in an immortal conversation with Olokun, god of the Sea.”
|Higher Court Judges (mixed media, 2011) by Amodu|
Bringing his thought on the theme to bear on the challenges facing Nigeria, Amodu argues that the state of the nation is a reflection of the value of the people. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to clean up their act, and take it to greater height for a decent, moral and cultural as well as political level.”
His artistic contribution to the development challenges of the country is also a wake up call “about high standards, good quality, and mastery of one’s trade or profession with good moral etiquettes.”
From being a Graphic Artist in 1985, Amodu graduated as a Fine Artist from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1991.