Saturday 15 June 2013

Oghagbon’s canvas brings Argungu, Emir to Lagos

By Tajudeen Sowole

From his past project, painter Moses Aboigbodin Oghagbon shared the beauty of Northern Nigeria in a show titled Argungu Series 1, held at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.
 Inspired by his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) period project tagged Tour Nigeria of 2004, the content of Argungu Series 1 traverse the famous yearly cultural event, Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival in Kebbi State of which the town in known for. 
Moses Oghagbon explaining his works to Representatives of the Emir and other guests during the opening of Argungu Series 1, in Lagos.
 Having got so familiar with the town even after his youth corp days, Oghagbon seemed compel to tell the story of the Argungu he argued most people do not know outside the fishing festival. “The exhibition talks more about the people, rural scenes and womanhood before, during and after the Argungu International Fishing Festival”.

Some of his captures on canvas, though included activities that are related to the festival, there are quite a number of other things such works explain. 
 For example in a work titled After Performance, the artist’s rendition of participants heading home brings the beauty out of a harsh hazy weather. Dissolving the skyline in the horizon into the creamy-like desert landscape that appears to be swallowing the ‘fishermen’, Oghagbon brings to fore the hidden tourism potentials of Argungu not known outside the famous festival.
The artist traced the history of Argungu Festival, to 1934 “as a goodwill gesture and celebration of peace between the people of Sokoto and Argungu”, and argued that, “it is the largest Festival, of its type, in Nigeria”.
However, his focus of the show, he stressed “is to change the perception of people; Argungu is not all about men in water alone”. And having bottled his love for the northern landscape and people for almost a decade, Oghagbon chose to celebrate nature and creativity with the traditional institution of Argungu. At the opening of Argungu Series 1, the Emir, Alhaji Samaila Muhammadu Mera (CON) was  represented by Alhaji Abubakar Dan-Mallam (District Head Bui) and the state government’s representative Mr Abel Akinosi de Chief Consultant Argungu Fishing Festival. 
The artist confessed: “I found the north more fascinating, the landscape, people, always appeal to me”. If words are not enough to express his love for the people and their rich nature, pictures would do, so suggests paintings such as The Family and Ammata (Maiden). As he depicts single parenting in The Family – a mother and three kids  – noting that, perhaps as a result of loss of spouse, a mother is left to cater for her children, the artist also links such unfortunate situation to abandoned children. Most Almajiris, he argued are from single parents or orphans.

In Ammata comes what she described as “gorgeously dressed young ladies who comes from Yado to Argungu for water .
The Argungu Series, the arrist disclosed is an ongoing show, which he hoped to take to Abuja, perhaps as Argungu Series II. However on a broader scale, Oghagbon has quite a vast work from his Tour Nigeria project that may be a bigger project in the future. “I have toured some places across Nigeria, documenting nature in paintings”.
Argungu was carved out of old Sokoto State when Kebbi State was created August 1991 with its capital as Birnin Kebbi, an ancient town as old as 14th century.

Oghagbon’s debut solo show Scapes From Nigeria, was held at Nike Art Gallery Lagos in 2011.

Some of his past group and joint shows include  Our Time at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos;  From Eko With Love Series” Ember Creek, Awolowo Rd Ikoyi Lagos    Nigeria.
2012 “International Art Expo National Commissions For
Museums And Monuments, Onikan Lagos Nigeria

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