Saturday 21 November 2015

For 'Vibrant' Collection, Artists of Essentials Broaden Space

By Tajudeen Sowole
(Published in The Guardian Nigeria)
Relativity in great collection is being challenged by a group of nine artists who throw their hats into the ring by claiming to have the most valuable art pieces yet seen. In fact, the artists have gathered for a group exhibition strategically titled Essentials, which opened yesterday; it will show for a week at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos,
Akinola Ebenezer, Bimbo Adenugba, George Edozie, Gerald Chukwuma, Joshua Nmesirionye, Kunle Adegborioye, Osagie Aimufia, Segun Aiyesan and Wallace Ejoh are artists of Essentials whose individual skills in painting and mixed media spans 10 years to two decades. With such a broad gathering, the artists are also hoping to use the exhibition as a platform to form a professional group.
From Edozie's stylised figures, bathed in competing vibrant colours, to Akinola's realism that keeps the basic essence of art alive as well as motif-patterned new canvas of Adenugba and relief sculptures of Chukwuma, the Essentials artists appear to have expanded the highly competitive art landscape of Lagos. Works of Ejoh, Nmesirionye, Adegborioye, Aiyesan and Aimufia are though not strange to the connoisseurs in Lagos, the artists are using the opportunity of Essentials to show some of their "best" works.
Having exhibited most of the Essentials artists, individually, Alexis has no reason to doubt their power of attracting the right appreciation. "This is a must see show of breathtaking works at affordable prices, we at the Alexis Galleries are delighted to host this all important show of great artists," said curator, Patty Chidiac. "This group of artists is well established and none of them has had less than 20 years of practices to his credit," she states, adding that  "most of the members of this group have exhibited extensively in Nigeria and abroad." The gathering, Chidiac enthused, has been made possible by "sponsors" such as Chocolat Royale, Nigeria Info, Cool FM, Wazobia FM, Cool TV, Wazobia TV, Art Café, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Arra Wines, The Homestores Limited, Litho-Chrome Limited, Avenue Suites Hotel and Cobranet Internet Service Provider.

 "Essentials is informed by a gathering aimed at taking Nigerian art to a higher level as our works are indeed  essentials for collection," Edozie boasted. Nmesirionye who is among the non-regulars at Alexis expresses confidence that the group exhibition has "artists with unique individual quality." And it's not just about art for art's sake, says Adenugba. "We are putting our ideology together, using art, in contributing to national development," Adenugba explains.
Chukwuma discloses that beyond exhibiting of their works, the group, when fully on ground is also hoping to go into publication as means of expanding the art scene. On a specific name for the proposed-group, a full identity, he said "will unfold after two or three exhibitions together."
Recall that early last year, Edozie and another group of artists came together with similar focus and had a show titled Serendipity. The group also had international art market in focus, but yet to make any other public appearance. But at the Essentials gathering, few days ago, Edozie assured that Serendipity is still alive and "we are working quietly".  He argued that "it takes some times for a strong group to be formed," but assured "we are regrouping to come out bigger." The Serendipity artists who showed at Alexis include Chukwuma, Jefferson Jonathan, Dominique Zinkpe, Tolu Aliki, Nyemike Onwuka and Edozie.
 In its consistence of promoting artists across generations, particularly new up-and-coming ones, Alexis showed a solo of Raji Mohammed’s Inspired this year.  “There are many older artists who wanted to have solo exhibitions, but we would not give them; Raji is hard working, and has a promising career,” Chidiac argued shortly before the exhibition.
Also. Chika Idu's theme on environmental degredation of Lagos coastal areas titled The Other World was shown by Alexis this year.

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