Friday 6 December 2013

With New Traditions in Contemporary Nigerian Painting, BlackPearl beckons in Abuja

By Tajudeen Sowole
As the stake in the Nigerian art market gets wider, attracting brokerage, a new entrant, BlackPearl Collections comes with target at offering artists a higher value for their creativity.

And specifically, BlackPearl, according to the Managing Director, Rosemary Madubunyi, is an art intermediary specializing in promoting work of West Africa, home and the Diaspora. Few weeks ago, it took off in Abuja with what with what Madubunyi described as New Traditions in Contemporary Nigerian Painting, an exhibition which featured the works of  Sam Ovraiti, Pita Ohiwerei, Olu Ajayi, Gerry Nnubia and Ndidi Emefiele.

Olu Ajayi’s Apple of My Heart

The promoter who has a background in the legal profession stated  during her visit to Lagos that the artists for the show “formed a significant part of a growing school of gifted painters exploring new directions and visual vocabularies in contemporary Nigerian painting”. The aim of the show, she stressed was to to explore new painting traditions is in line with BlackPearl’s thrust, which include encouraging innovative artists and representing the best of modern and contemporary Nigerian art.
Quite a list of artists to start with: Ovraiti, for example is well-known for water colours and fluidity in oils and acrylics; Ohiwerei, a Diapora artist based in Atlanta, U.S. is a fantastic impressionist who, over the years, has coined the technique of 'scratchee'; Ajayi is arguably a leading Lagos-based artist whose work and studio proficiency spans three decades. 

And in Nnubia, BlackPearl has an artist who, recently, has experimented with flowing of colours on canvas to create images without the aid of brush and palette.

Bridging the old generation of artists on the list is young Emefiele, who the promoter described as carving a niche for herself on the local scene. Her work derives strength by the artist’s “use of disused compact discs, and strips of metal foil and African wax textiles”. 
Madubunyi studied law, gaining her undergraduate degree from the University of Kent in the UK, after which she studied French at the University of Sorbonne in Paris. In France  she got the idea of an art intermediary. Recently, she have been engaged in the study of African art and History of art.

She Stated: "Art consultants are also a curious breed. They're a mix of agent, private dealer, gallery dealer, interior designer, curator, and traveling salesman-- all thrown into one. But what they all have in common is that they buy and sell art, sometimes a lot of it. This means have a broad range of skills.

"However, I try to make trust and honesty key features of the way in which I run my business and they underpin the manner in which I give advice and support, particularly to some of the new artists coming on the scene. Second, is quite simply my natural drive and sense of ambition. I was brought up in a family of hard-working achievers, so it only came naturally for me to assume that if I really put my mind to something, I will succeed at it. It is this drive, combined with a relentless energy, that has transformed BlackPearl Collections from just an idea I had, going to galleries in Paris and discussing issues of art and identity and thoughts of an African renaissance, into what it is today”. 

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