BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
The print artist Dele Oluseye may have, over the year, shown so much passion in plastograph on canvas, however, his exploits as one of the participants in a recent group show in Ghana seems to confirm that he is on the right track.
Having had his post-school training under the master and originator of plastograph, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Oluseye appears to have imbibed the native content of his mentor. This could be seen in the themes of the works he featured at the Accra, Ghana show.
Sharing his experience, Oluseye says the show titled Peace Splash 2012 was an artists’ collective intiative to promote peace in the forthcoming elections in Ghana.
Omo Ni Jigi (Child As Mirror), plastograph on canvas.
Artists that participated in the show, he recalls, came from Africa, the US, Trinidad and Tobago and the Diaspora.
Art, he notes has the strength to touch the hearts of the people. For him, the joy of being part of history was more than any material gain.
Some of Oluseye’s works seen via soft copies on his return from Ghana showed how the artist has taken his Yoruba language and values to the international gathering.
Most relevant to the gathering is the piece titled, Ariwo Ko (No Dispute), a depiction of lovers engrossed in the lyrics of the drums and, perhaps, resolve to make the best of whatever could have led to the issue between them.
PRESENTING Omo Ni Jigi (Child As A Mirror), Oluseye argues that the closer and stronger the affinity between mother and child, the stronger the peace of the society. “It’s centred around the importance of children to the mother, father, family and the society.” Happier and healthy children, as signs of good fortune for the society, also play out in the same work, as babies swim around a nursing mother.
“The trend of work and thought of an artist can serve as a measure to understand the feeling of the larger society,” Oluseye explains.
And going metaphysics, perhaps dragging in the Yoruba mythology is a work, titled Hand of Fortune (Owo Aje). Supposedly of good omen, the work looks like the sort of image that either comes in a nightmare. Quite surreal: it’s a right palm sandwiched by two feet on opposite direction and some colourful images on the top.
The concepts, he explains, is the power of unforeseen and unknown forces, which determine fate of everyone.
Over the years, small woodcarvings such as souvenirs, dolls, shrine objects and combs have been part of the Yoruba culture. In Oluseye’s Oju Gbooroo (Wide Space), the much-taunted myths are still attached to some of these objects, even in contemporary period. Playing around the belief, the artist creates a six-headed image of three-fork comb. He says, “it’s an imaginary composition, depicting the mystic and importance of the comb in the society.”
Also listed as participating artists in the Alliance Francaise, Ghana-organised show are Bosun Ojo, Ojo Olaniyi, Adeyemo Hakeem, Olawunmi Olaore, Ademola Tajudeen, Juliet Ezenwa-Maja-Pearce, Bardi Augustine, Johnson Shobawale and Okiemute Ejoh.
OLUSEYE’s bio says he is a foundation member of the yearly Harmattan Workshop. He holds an MFA degree in printmaking from the University of Benin (UNIBEN).