Thursday 10 May 2012

Conflict resolution in Orara's Boundaries And Bridges

By Tajudeen sowole
(First published on Tuesday, March 23, 2010) 
PAINTER, Zinno Orara takes his art into another realm as he attempts to offer solution to disagreements of diverse dimensions.

With his solo art exhibition titled Boundaries And Bridges which opens at Quintessence Gallery, Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos Island, on Saturday March 27, ending on Saturday April 17, 2010, the artist argued that "boundaries separate us; bridges link us."

From the domestic and other social issues such as marriage, community development and business affair to ethnic and religious, the need for tolerance, Orara declared, informed the theme of the show. For example " I live in Jos, an I can tell you how it has been very challenging."

Not exactly new to crisis of that dimension; as a native of the troubled Niger Delta part of the country, his thought on the agitation of the people is felt in the piece, Another Unanswered Question.

He was short of words in describing the various clashes in Jos. But in the oil piece, JOStified?, a distance burning scene and its engulfing surrounding depicted in amber colour, there came an alert on the cost of intolerance. The conflict spares no one, except you are fortunate, he stated. For those who live in the so-called safe areas of Jos, the dose of violence could come in another form, he warned. Orara explained how his daughter, been driven in a car on her way from school, was just few seconds out of the volatile spot, before the February clash started.

For those lost loved ones and family, the wound would take a while to heal. But for others like Orara, it's mental torture as he disclosed that "In Jos, bodies and flesh litter the road. In fact, it took me a while to resume eating meat."

In the landscape Rays of Hope, a sunrise behind the vegetation and rooftops beaming lights in hues of yellow is the artist's succour that "conflicts are suppose to be temporary."

From a relationship between spouses painted in the hidden figural, The Power of Agreement, he draws the analogy that two wrongs can never right the wrong.

Still on relationship, the artist alerted that there is so much to learn in expression only if you have the keen observation and learn to read other people's countenance well. Emphasy on eyeballs, eyelids, mouth and lips of a lady in the piece, You Don't Have to Lie to me says a lot about this observation.

With over 20 exhibitions, this show, he said, marks his 21 years of studio practice. Though quite a committed period to his career, Orara still feel "like a girl just in puberty; am really excited." Started as a water colourist, "but now use oil like watercolour."
Zinno Orara at work

Excitement combined with confidence must have led him to "planned 50 pieces for the show." But will display 40, of what he believes represent "an improvement in the last few year. I have added something new such as mixed media of dust, oil on canvas."

Still on his studio commitment, he argued that being a full time studio artist for 21 years in a challenging economy such as Nigeria's is worth celebrating. Most artists who are also in full time studio practice today, he noted, were at a period in their career "frustrated" to take up monthly pay employment.

He said: "I am one of the very few artists who never worked in advertising agencies, newspaper as most of our colleagues do, we are probably less than five in the industry." And when reminded that he was a tutor The Redeemer School, Maryland, Lagos, Orara explained that "it was a part time I was forced to take up, just during weekend as a consultant". Even that ended so short and sudden because "I could not manage the situation; I remain a fulltime studio person."

Orara's last solo show, Dreams and Aspiration was in June 2006.




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