Monday 9 September 2013

After years of absence, Araism returns to Lagos, marks 11th outing

AFTER taking a break from the Lagos art scene for three years, the Araism Movement returns with Araism Movement 11 show from Saturday, September 14 at Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Led by its founder, Mufu Onifade, the show features the works of Dotun Popoola, Abiola Mautin Akande, Abolore Awojobi and Oluwanbe Amodu.

Mufu Onifade’s work Alajobi (Ancestral Lineage), showing in Araism Movement 11

Other artists are Esther Emmanuel (the first and only exhibiting female member of the Movement), Geroge Egunjobi, Bolarinwa Olowo, Jonathan Imafidon and Odumbo Adeniran.

    They are joined by three new members; Tope Adebayo, Aliu Azeez and Oluwasegun Phillips. The show is organised by Ara Studio in partnership with Mydrim Gallery.

  ARA, an acronym derived from Aesthetically Rich Art (ARA), the movement has been asserting its identity on the Nigerian art landscape since 2006 when it made its debut as a group. According to the group, staying away from Lagos for three years was meant to spread the message of Araism across Nigeria. So far, Abuja has benefitted from the group’s break from Lagos. 

  And to display to their Lagos admirers how much improvement the group has made in the last three years, “this edition will showcase 40 paintings and three metal sculptures.” And there is additional technique to the familiar Araism look. “This new sculptural approach to the technique of Araism is Dotun Popoola’s dimensional touch to create a new identity for himself while deriving from the limitless possibilities that Araism offers.”

  Araism Movement was established and formally launched at the Harmattan Workshop Gallery, Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday, July 22, 2006 with an exhibition of paintings by Onifade and five of his ‘disciples’: Olaniyi Omojuwa, Tope Oguntuase, Dotun Popoola, Abiola Mautin-Akande and Jonathan Ikpoza. Then, the show was organised to re-launch the concept of Aesthetically Rich Art or ara (wonder).

  Since its appearance on the scene, the movement’s technique and styles have impacted on the “the sensibilities of artists, arts writers, gallery owners, the arts community and the general public.”
    The group boasts that “in recent times, every watcher of unfolding events in contemporary Nigeria art cannot overlook or undervalue the emergence and prominence of Araism technique – nay the Movement. Araism is a creative force of reckoning while the movement serves as a platform of projection to the technique and its many exponents.”

  From 2006 and October last year, the group has had seven shows in Lagos and three in Abuja. Consolidating, the group restates its relevant position in contemporary Nigerian Art with its exhibitions series meant to discover and project to the world new creativity and disciplined artists”. Araism Movement 11 “serves as part of its usual creative restlessness that makes it the most consistent art movement in Nigeria.”

A note on the description of the araism art form states: “Araism entails a process of cumbersome technicalities deserving of intense experimentation. As a painting technique, it was launched in 1998 with a solo exhibition by its inventor, Onifade. On the other hand, Araism Movement was born in 2006 with an official grouping of interested students (members) who are today known as disciples – all of them sharing a common fraternity with their teacher. With the emergence of the movement, we can now reflect on both the technique of, and the styles in, Araism. This is made possible by an array of styles developed by Onifade and other outstanding members of the movement.”

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