Saturday 17 May 2014

From Open Studio to Dialogue of Forms, artists search for new visual language

By Tajudeen Sowole
Four months after the Dr Kunle Adeyemi-led group of artists hosted art community in Lagos at Open Studio-1, their mission of advancing the skills of members appears to have found additional tasks of generating new  visual language.

Now known as Visual Explorators, the group makes its debut art exhibition titled Dialogue with Forms, opening from May 24, and showing till June, 7, 2014 at Reconnect Gallery, Ebute Meta, Lagos Mainlkand.

Aje Ogungunuso Series by Dr Kunle Adeyemi

In January Adeyemi had led 11 artists in the Open Studio-1 gathering held in his studio in Mushin.

Artists of the Visual Explorators include Adeyemi, KK Olojo-Kosoko, Tunde Oguntuyo, Biodun Okemakinde, Adetola Adenuga, Lukmon Jimoh, Abiola Adeyemi, Bashir Kalejaiye, Olushegun Oduyele, Dayo Adeyemi, Bodurin Abiodun and Aremu Monsuru

During a preview at Reconnect Gallery, Adeyemi disclosed that the group’s Dialogue of Forms was inspired by the need to revisit, in visual context, African signs and motifs. He noted that African written signs of ancient times that represented the people’s means of communication have disappeared.

Adeyemi whose work is populated with African signs listed the area of coverage of the Explorators as “sharpening our intelligence” for strong intellectual articulation as well “understanding our environment.” He also noted that the exhibition is coming at a time when art for aesthetics appears incomplete to meet the challenges of contemporary times.  “Many have argued that art should not only be fine, but message-driven such that it is relevant to the society.”

 He therefore assured that Dialogue of Forms will have on display works “that are set to engage the viewers in some sort of conversation and discussion to the understanding of certain issues of our society.”  

 For the host, Reconnect Art Gallery the proprietor, Mrs Olayemi Madu stated that the gallery “is pleased to be associated with the Visual Explorators.” Recalling that the purpose of the setting up the gallery was to support young artists who need a platform to launch their creative potentials, Madu hoped “that this opportunity given the group will create a big and desired impact in the art career and professional life of these artists.”

Reconnect which is less than one year old is already attracting art collectors on the Mainland and beyond as well as established and young artists.

Madu, who is also a trained artist noted that there was need to offer opportunity for graduates of art institutions produced every year. “There is need to create more of these kinds of opportunity for budding graduate artists in the country. In an attempt to sustain the practice potentials of such artists, Reconnect Art Gallery also provide studio space where the artists can carry out their artistic creativities.”

Areas of focus of the gallery, according to Madu include Organising programmes that encourage skill acquisition among students of secondary and other special institution; ;Organize art competitions to develop potential art talents in the society; carrry out outdoor exhibitions and execute special projects and commissions.

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