Monday 22 October 2012

Views in Colours… Osagie’s exits from old palette

With Osazuwa Osagie holding his solo show titled Views In Colours at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos from October 27 to November 3, there is no doubt that works from his Objective Period will be on display.

Though he expresses himself weekly, as a contributing cartoonist for a national daily, The Nation, closing that period of his art via the canvas and mainstream art scene, he says, “is a progression.”

Taking guests through some of the works mounted inside his residence-cum-studio in Lagos recently aside from the soft copies, the theme of the show begins to unfold. What exactly is Osagie’s objective art content all about?  “It is about creating argument with images,” he says.

Being among the Nigerian artists that promoted full-time studio practice after graduating in 1984, Osagie’s seeming less prominence in exhibition circuit in recent times takes nothing away from his skill and rating.

In stylised figural Goje Player, his kind of dialogue with art is not missing in a rendition of native and rarely seen musical instrument, bringing rhythms and colours together. Though the strings of the Goje dissolve into the colours, the powers of the high pitch instrument could be felt.
Goje Player By osazuwa Osagie
THE spiritual content of objectivity is captured in internal dialogue as In Thought, a somber and lone figure suggests. Between the thinker’s facial expression, made louder and, perhaps, scary by dark shades and the wrapped up part of the arm, the real depression mood is clearly seen.
   From one work to another, the contrast keeps coming, yet within the frame of dialogue. For One Too Many, it’s a dialogue between a man and his bottles, a delicate and dangerous medium of expressing frustration. With sharp brush or palette knife movements, Osagie’s impressionist strokes send the message that we cannot run away from your problems by indulging in alcohol. “Drinking does not solve frustration; it gives temporary excitement that only adds more to your problem,” the artist argues.

Every artist has school nostalgia in different form; Osagie gets his from a painting. It is a work that was painted during his undergraduate days at Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State. It’s a lady in reclining posture titled Zuletu.
OLD paintings and drawings are common sight on the walls of Osagie’s studio. They are kept as part of his personal collections. Being possessive of his work, he says, is a hard attitude to drop.
“If I have my way, I would not sell any of my works. I would rather build a museum or gallery where I can keep them, including other artists’ works.”

Majority of works sold out by artists, he argues, end up in the hands of art dealers who dispose them so easily. It’s therefore friendlier to sell directly to collectors, who buy the works for the love of art and share ideas with the artists as friends.”  

It’s therefore not a surprise when he discloses that out of the 40 works for the Views In Colours show, some would not be for sale.

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