Sunday 20 October 2013

On Okorare’s canvas, Art Forever enlivens InterContinental Lagos

By Tajudeen Sowole

INSIDE the lobby of the newly opened InterContinental Lagos, works of the artist, Efe Okorare, adorns the expansive space, adding painterly content to the architectural masterpiece of the new hotel.

Art shows outside the regular gallery space, particularly in the lobby of hotels and events venue often get lost in appreciation. But for Okorare’s Art Forever series, which was promoted by Link Art, the works, which were mounted on easles few days before the opening ceremony of the hotel was not so difficult getting people’s attention; his kind of art roves between abstraction and representation.

In a painting titled era of Keke (Tricycle), the artist puts his viewer’s sense of minimalism to test, just a thin line of yellow that swims all over the image that struggling to get noticed from the black dominance gives out the image as the fledging tricycle  – a new replacement for motorcycles (okada) as another means of transportation in Lagos metropolis.

One of Efe Okorare's works, Ijoya (Dancing Time)

The artist notes that tricycles always get his attention on the road, more “for the dangerous way in which the riders speed on the road”. Indeed, Okorare’s observation on the conduct of the tricycles on Lagos roads echoes most citizens’ worries about the restrictions of the tricycle to inner roads, which has not been fully enforced.

Perhaps flaunting his ability to render impressive figures, Okorare also shows quite a number of representational pieces, mostly in mixed media of painting on fabrics.

One of such works, Ijoya (Dancing Time) suggests that the trend of painting on fabrics is spreading very fast among artists, in the last few years. Okorare admits that Ijoya “is a tribute to Kolade Oshinowo”, a prolific painter who, in his recent works has strengthened his love for using fabric to add conceptual flavor to his canvas.

While Oshinowo’s style of fabric painting attracts Okorare’s attention, he recalls falling in love with master printmaker, Bruce Onobrakpeya’s attitude to work as well as prominent art collector, Sammy Olagbaju’s advice. “Onobrakpeya words inspired me. He always told me to keep working. Uncle Olagbaju advised me to work in series”.

He says, “art is the most beautiful thing in life”, inspiring him “to live it to the fullest”.

Art, he continues “can never get extinct”. From his conviction on the reliance of art comes his the third solo exhibition Art Forever in the Art Link series.

Born in Lagos, in 1979, Okorare says his journey into art started very early in life.  “At 11, I started painting and sketching under the guidance of my father.”

Okorare studied at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria graduating with a B.A. in Art History in 2004. He has also participated in several group shows and art expos/workshops. He has also been commissioned to produce works for notable oil and gas and design firms in Lagos, Nigeria.

He was once a staff of the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation (BOF) and the Visual Arts Society of Nigeria (VASON). He is currently the Art Initiator of Linkart Concepts, a Member of the Art Galleries Association of Nigeria (AGAN) and Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA).

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