Sunday 30 December 2012

Mode’s Search of a new medium

THOUGH trained in the art of animation and motion picture special effect (SFX), Modebolu Aderinokun, however, finds stronger expression in visual arts than Nigeria's film industry, generally referred to as Nollywood.

While studying animation and visual effects at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, US, painting was more on her mind. And for three years, the young artist who prefers a shortened name form, Mode, has been compiling some works, she discloses few days ahead of the opening of her solo art show titled The Search, which runs till January 19 at Tarino Tower, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Wazobia by Mode
She has set out as an impressionist with paintings largely in modest sizes; communicating to specific group of young people who are bold and expressive. Mode’s choice of themes, naturally, makes her a portrait artist for now.

However, her work probes into the psyche of young people’s fashion and other happenings that spur them to act the way they do. 

And at the core of lending a stronger voice to young people’s expression, she proclaims that her African identity is crucial. “My emphasis is on African beauty,” she sys. This much, she expresses in portraiture of three ladies, titled Wazobia. The common and specific element in the painting is the popular Nigerian women’s headgear (gele). 

From similar template comes a more broader, perhaps, contemporary rendition in The Bald, The Afro and The Straight.

Indeed the artist’s passion for promoting African identity is not hidden in this piece, and with draughtsmanship, lighting and toning that still radiate her western exposure, Mode needs to be fully at home with native idioms to truly frame her work as she proclaims. For example, titles in Yoruba or other African languages could just be the flavour for stronger aura in her young, but ambitious strokes.
BETWEEN her training in visual effects and self-taught discipline in painting, the link haunts Mode’s art, so suggests some of her works extended beyond the traditional canvas medium.
Such set of works, at first, catch one’s attention as a photography technique of matting objects with black and white portraits.
“No,” she cautions. It’s just promotional images for what she labels ‘products.’ And a closer look reveals that the reproduced paintings are generated through heat transfer technique of her work onto the back of gadgets such as computers and mobile phones. She argues “if you truly like art, it should reflect beyond hanging it on your wall.”

To a little extent, Mode ‘s SFX background continues to reflect in another processed image titled Falomo, an aerial view of the dual carriageway section of Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.

Clearly, the eclectic shades in Mode’s The Search, which bring forms and techniques that could have come from a group show is an indication that she has set out, aggressively too, to find her distinct place in the Nigerian art landscape.

Mode sees art from the context of relating to the idea seekers, the innovators, the passion driven and the adventurous.
She does not regret her refusing to pick up a career in animation; it was, in fact, concluded even before she graduated from the university. "While studying animation, I fell in love with the creativity in the city than the actual course I was taking.”

She discloses, “the film industry is still on my mind, but I spent the last two years of my studies painting with hope of turning it into a profession.”

THOUGH from a privileged background, Mode pleads to be herself and create her own identity. How far she can go with her modest approach may just be about what she knows and not whose child she is.

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