Saturday 3 May 2014

Sensing Space…the return of Defactori Studio

By Tajudeen Sowole
Over 15 years of artists' bonding known as, Defactori Studio is back on the art exhibition circuit after a long break.
  The ten member-Defactori Studio's art exhibition titled Sensing Spaces, currently showing at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos offers individual artist independent expression, still within the scope of the central theme.

A joint Artists Statement of the group declares that Sensing Spaces "brings to light the importance and need for communion among the artists."

Exhibiting artists are Awoyemi Ajibade, Ola B alogun, Anthony Ayanu, John Akintunde, Chika Idu, Taiwo George -Taylor, Adeladan Adeshino, Ngozi Schommers, Joe Essien and Damola Adepoju.

Awoyemi Ajibade’s Hope, from Defactori group exhibition Sensing Space
As the current state of Nigeria’s leadership quest gives the people grey hair and increases worries over lack of for basic needs and security, Ajibade's work titled Hope may bring succour or respite to a restless psyche. The artist goes further to voice concerns of most Nigerians by noting that despite an apparent failure of leadership, "they still want to come back for our votes in 2015."

In cubism-like stylized portraiture titled Supreme Vision, Ayanu argues for God's supremacy over all sorts of visions. And in an environment such as Nigeria's where spirituality has become big business and escape routes for and refuge for a depressed nation, the artist chides people who claim God's guidance or calling just to satisfy material needs and take advantage of the ignorant among the people.

Still on Hope, Idu focuses the dilemma of an average African woman who is of marriageable age, but still searching for husband. And it goes beyond the search for husband, the artist states. “from being denied education and confronting domestic abuse, African ladies are endangered.”

But Defactori offers a hope for women; it’s not just an all men affair. Schommers, the the only female member of the group had been tracking the studio since her under graduate years. Currently a full member, she is not “intimidated” by the gender imbalance. In fact being the youngest among the artists, she says, “is not a disadvantage, but an opportunity to learn from the established artists.”

indicate Adeladan explained that Senses represents ideas of different styles and  technique." For Ajibade, the about "idea of boudless expression."

Among the group's outlets of sharing their artistic thoughts are  workshop a and artist talk. But Defactori was last heard of in 2009 when it organised a forum tagged Place of Art in Our Socio-Economic Environment. Held at its Ebute Meta base, the well attended gathering also had resource persons in senior artistst such as the then Chairman, Society of Nigerian Artists, SNA, Lagos State Chapter, Olu Ajayi; President, Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria, GFA, Edosa Ogiugo; Vice President, GFA, Abiodun Olaku; chairman, Universal Studio of Artists, Bunmi Babatunde; painter and former art teacher, Sam Ovraiti; Head of Department, Fine Art Department, Lagos State Polytechnic, Akeem Balogun (of blessed memory); and art dealer, Stephen Okonmah.

Such gathering, which was widely applauded has been missing in the calendar of Defactori. "it has been difficult coming together since then because individual commitment," Ajibade, a founding member of the group explained.  He however argued that the consistency of the group in having a pre-exhibition workshop has been met this year. "We had a workshop in January for our preparation for this exhibition." Ayanu explained that "the workshop was about exposing our work to scrtiny and critique ahead of the exhibition."
 Defactori was formed in 2002 and had its debut exhibition titled Fusion, in 2003 at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos. The group had another show, People, at the French Cultural Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos a year after and Statements, at the Nimbus, in 2008.

Among its other outings was Passage of Time, an exhibition of 42 works, held at Pendulum Centre for Culture and Development, Lekki Victoria Island, Lagos, in 2007.

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