Sunday 27 October 2013

In The Logo, new gallery strengthens art appreciation on Lagos mainland

By Tajudeen Sowole
Art appreciation on the Lagos mainland may not exactly be a mirage as a new entrant Negro Art, which sneaked into the art scene last year, has come out bolder when it recently unveiled The Logo.

Set up in honour of Ernest Azubuike Emdin(1939-1995, who was one of Nigeria’s pioneer outdoor signage artists and founder of the rested company Negro Art, the gallery is also threading where others dread: it is situated in Surulere, a less attractive area for art galleries concentrated in Lagos and Victoria Islands, Opening of The Logo suggested that lovers of art are not confined to the Islands.

Shortly after The Logo – a portrait of the patriarch, Emdin – was unveiled, the group exhibition accompanying the event was thrown opened to visitors. Works on display, from artists complemented the revered name of the gallery, a well-known brand in signage industry of the 1960s through 70s and 80s.

Some of the works on display inside Negro Art

Earlier, the proprietress of Negro Art Gallery, Funmi Ogbogu explained that the unveiling of The Logo “is special to me”. Her late father, Emdin she recalled  “taught his children how to create art such that we grew up in the environment where we created everything we used as décor in the house”.

Also the chairman of the event, a pharmacist, Michael Oyebanji argued that if art must flourish, the people should believe it. He lamented that most people still see art as symbol of some religious worship. He stressed that “a people’s art is their culture. Spiritism is not art. We should have respect for our culture and art".

Another speaker at the opening, artist Olu Ajayi recalled his memory of Negro Art in the 1970s, noting that then there were very few artists who did signage, yet the billboards and most of the signage were done manual.. “Negro was one of them in Benin. He was well organised and précise in his art”. Dedicating a gallery in Emdin’s name, Ajayi argued is one of the greatest ways to remember an artist. “it is the desire of every artist to be remembered”.

When Negro Art opened last year, Ogbogu, a Micro Biology graduate of University of Benin assured  that her mission will spur lovers of African art in Surulere and environs into stronger appreciation. “Our vision is to have art appreciation in every home and business environment while growing and developing our local artistic talents”.

One year after, Ogbogu was glad that the myth of ‘art thrives only on the Islands’ has been shattered by Negro Art Gallery. As the visitors to The Logo were going round the works on display, she told a guest that “from just one room last year, the gallery has expanded to three rooms”.

Artists such as Tony Nwalupue, Anthony Emdin, Demola Tukuru, Lucky Isiaih, Wahab Arorime whose works made The Logo show are not exactly be the masters of the canvas. But depth of creative contents in the gallery suggests that Negro is defining its own clientele outside the regular space and art market.
Last year the gallery opened with works of nearly the same artists and others, and indicated there will not be a retreat in its efforts to restore Surulere’s status as a potential art hub that Lagosians used to know in the 70s.

And to broaden the scope of appreciation across the board, Negro Art include crafts in its collections In its mission statement, gallery prides its collection as including , art from Nigerian and other African countries.
“Our artworks are works of beauty with aesthetic, emotional, intellectual and creative appeal. Our artworks uplift and inspire art lovers and motivate others to join in the art experience.
 “Our artists are masters at their craft with many years of hands on experience as well as budding talented artists. We have artworks depicting the various Nigerian and African cultures and traditions to abstracts, modern and contemporary art”

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful artworks! Lovely pieces of creative work. Negro Art Gallery has truly changed the landscape in Lagos.

    Thank you for sharing.