Tuesday 12 April 2016

Bashorun, Idu In Evolving Currents

Sculptor, Raqib Bashorun and painter Chika Idu are showing Evolving Currents from April 18 to June 16, 2016, at The Wheatbaker, Lagos.
Eastern Dragon'(Steel) by Raqib Bashorun

The two-artists exhibition of their recent works are in the varying media of sculpture, installation, oil and acrylic on canvas, and watercolour on paper. Curated by Sandra Mbanefo Obiago and Oliver Enwonwu, the exhibition is suggestive of creative currents that continue to flow between consecutive generations of artists. This notion of interconnectedness is further accentuated by the fact that though the artists work across different media and are separated by age, Idu being considerably younger, they are brought together through several points of investigation of their intriguing art forms.

Bashorun belongs to an exceptional, but older established generation of sculptors who have firmly inculcated the practice of employing unconventional techniques and media including recycled and found materials in their interrogation of the larger society. As so often with his previous installations, the 14 works presented here are fashioned from his preferred media of wood and metal. However, in the last decade, Bashorun has increasingly explored new directions and possibilities with the incorporation of recycled and found material from his immediate environment, most notably metal in form of aerosol and soda cans, as well as domestic accessories like table cutlery. 

Chika Idu’s strongly figurative and personal style is easily recognizable, one that traces his trajectory and stylistic development. His technique involves the exhaustive priming of his canvas. His broad oeuvre embraces themes such as traditional Nigerian ceremonies, musicians and landscapes. Several of his paintings are imbued with narrative content. They depict children engaging in various forms of activity—on the way to school, praying, reading or swimming. Idu is also an accomplished portraitist; his canvases portraying the beauty of the African woman with her pouted lips and lithe supple body, are built up thickly with palette knife and sometimes fingers.

The exhibition’s strength is hinged on the juxtaposed placement of each artist’s work; the geometric and abstract forms, as well as the rigidity and hardness of Bashorun’s sculpture against the palpable impasto, delineating the more fluid figures and forms that populate Idu’s 26 canvases. Significantly, both artists are united by each other’s interest in the texture and materiality of his chosen media.
The exhibition is sponsored by the Wheatbaker & Veuve Clicquot, and runs until June 16th, 2016.

The Other Life by Chika Idu (oil on canvas, 122 x 91cm)

Raqib Abolore Bashorun (born 1955) is one of Nigeria's most avant-garde sculptors. His exemplary career as an artist and teacher is marked by significant exhibitions held in the United States and Nigeria. Bashorun holds a MFA in Sculpture with a minor in Drawing (2002), and a M.Ed (Art Education, 1984) from the University of Missouri in Columbia, USA.

Bashorun recently retired as a teaching staff of the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH). At various times, he held several important positions including Principal Lecturer at the School of Art, Design and Printing, Chief Lecturer and Head of the Department of Graphics, YABATECH (2005-2008). 

For the past 30 years, Bashorun has focused on issues of waste, recycling, and environmental sustainability, skilfully using found materials, which he expertly reproduces as objects of beauty, form and function.

Chika Idu (born 1974) is one of Nigeria's exciting emerging artists who studied Painting at the Auchi Polytechnic in Edo State from 1993-1998. He was instrumental to the founding of the Defactori Studios, a collective of dynamic new generation artists. He also created Nigeria’s first association of watercolour painters, the Water Colour Society of Artists (SABLES). Idu has taken part in numerous group and solo exhibitions across Nigeria and the United States.

Idu’s works are characterized by a soft haziness and thick impasto, a technique he calls “light against visual distortion.” For the past 16 years, he has been committed to exposing the plight of the African child, and recently began an environmental campaign to raise awareness about the risks faced by children living in coastal slums. Besides teaching art at the Lycee Francais Louis Pasteur in Lagos, Idu has an active studio practice in Ikorodu.

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