|One of the Wole Soyinka portraits currently on tours|
The exhibition segment of the WS80 International Cultural Exchange featuring portrait paintings of Prof Wole Soyinka will formally open on Saturday, July 5 at the Kongi’s Harvest Art Gallery, Freedom Park, Lagos at 5pm.
The collection of Life paintings and works by “Roadside” Artists’, was flagged off on April 25 by the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and members of the State’s Executive Council at the Ogun State Cultural Center, Kuto in Abeokuta – to launch the 80-day countdown to the July 13 birthday of Soyinka.
The works include the volume of life paintings produced during the maiden edition of The ICON Series coordinated and curated by the Olu Ajayi Studios. About 20 artists of diverse orientations and techniques had few years back hosted the Nobel laureate in a Studio session, and painted him life as directed by the painter, Olu Ajayi.
The opening at Freedom Park is expected to be graced by patrons of visual arts, members of the media and the public. The exhibition, which began on July 1 at the Freedom Park, will remain till Monday, July 7 before returning to the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta.
The exhibition will continue its road show throughout the rest of the year travelling to other parts of Nigeria, and as far as Benin Republic and Ghana and other parts of Africa.
It’s scheduled tour include: Abeokuta – April 25 – June13; Osogbo – June 13 & 14; Lagos – July 1 – 7 at Freedom Park; Lagos – July 11 at Terra Kulture; Lagos – July 11; Unilag, July 12; Ibadan – July 15 – August 15; with later date for Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Asaba, Benin and Kano and Jos.
ON THE ICON PROJECT, By Olu Ajayi
The Nigeria Icon project is a contingent of professional artist and scholars dedicated to rectifying this gap in the country’s Art history profile, through the process of recording these Icons on canvas and any other Art media in a life study interaction exercise. This initiative started in 2007 by Olu Ajayi a painter and former Chairman Society of Nigeria Artist Lagos Chapter. It commenced in 2008 with Prof Wole Soyinka as first Icon.
PURPOSE: The purpose of painting the Nigerian Living Icon is to avail Nigeria a professional and continuously expanding artistic records of the real life and iconic images of its legends.
Also, for due development and properly aligned management of special platforms for educating Nigeria’s about country’s legendary personalities and for the mastery of skills that are relevant to the documentations of such people in quintessential and enduring arts forms.
OBJECTIVE: To run the project as a special and a continuous professional exercise in the positive evolution in Nigeria society. This is hinged on the fact that for as long as Nigeria exists; the emergence of Nigerians of outstanding profoundness will persist. This makes the Living Icon Project imperative.
OUR FIRST LIVING LEGEND AND ICON: Wole Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 in Abeokuta, Western Nigeria. Author of over thirty titles in all genres, Soyinka has been a consistently courageous voice for human rights world wide, and a force in national politics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, the first African to be so honoured. Soyinka lectures extensively in universities in Europe and the USA, and divides his time between Nigeria and California in the US.
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RENDITION: The invited guest (Icon) sits on the podium under control lighting and background sits for four hours with photographers and painter, sculptors, journalist and historians in attendance to witness one of the profound interactive section between the Icon and the Artists whilst the life painting, drawing, exercise is going on. The purpose is to capture the essence of the Icon.
Wole Soyinka sat four hours with one hour break with interacting artists during the break and inspected the paintings, drawing and sculpture of himself and was pleased. The works were reflection of his various books, titles and public perception of the Icon as can be seen from the exhibition. Not necessarily a photo reproduction but using his portrait to convey and express his person.
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