Sunday 19 June 2016

Faces and Phases of Refreshing Canvas

By Tajudeen Sowole
In its fourth edition, Adekusibe Odunfa-led series themed Faces and Phases, which opened yesterday at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos and showing till next week continues its focus in highlighting progression of select artists.

The Chase by Donald Ekpo, among works showing at Faces and Phases.

 Started over three years ago with Odunfa's collection shown alongside works of few other artists, the 2016 edition of Faces and Phases confirms that the event is gradually becoming a regular feature in art calendar of Lagos.

 More interesting, the series is attracting increasing number of artists every year. From few artists at debut to nine last year, the exhibition is currently showing 15 artists, including new entrants.

  The regular artists Oluwole Olufemi and Ade Odunfa are joined by new entrants: Adeleke Olajide, Arikpo Godwin, Bolaji Ogunwo, Babatunde Ogunlade, Chucks Okonkwo, Donald Ekpo, Durudola Yusuf, Henry Chigbo , Ibrahim Afegbua, Jonathan Ikpoza, Opedun Damilola, Uzoma Samuel and Sophia Igbinovia who is the only lady ever to show in Faces and Phases.

 In the era when contemporaneity is expanding the scope of art and collapsing barriers, the tradition of fine art is hardly making any sharp changes in Lagos. This much has been upheld, even by young artists of Nigerian postmodernism, so suggests some of the works at viewed ahead of opening. 
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However, in Free Spirit,  a painting by Ikpozoa, the artist's sense of surreal combines well with three layers of the composition’s texture. A greenery background, reddish foreground and heavy mid-space where the subject is centralised are what make the artist a potent material in the bridge between modern and contemporaneity.

 Also confirming artists’ escape into contemporary period is The Chase by Ekpo, another surreal piece. Even in Odunfa's Gele Dun, a portrait painting of an unidentified figure, there exist a texture of contemporaneity, which finds collaboration with traditional style and forms. 

 Recalling how the series started as an experiment with few works from his collection, Odunfa enthuses that "today, Faces and Phases has become a forum for young artists to express themselves." The focus, he adds, remain the same, stressing how it helps artists to increase their skills by showing new works. And the increase in interests among artists, he discloses, has brought in entries from Port Harcourt and Ibadan.

 Support for the exhibition comes from design genre, Makadel School of Style and Design, a fashion institute based in Lagos. The expansion of the exhibition with more artists is the attraction for Makadel, explains Nita-Nkese Ephraim, CEO. The fashion house's involvement in the exhibition since last year has generated exposure for it's design pieces, adds Ephraim. 

  Curatorial statement: "Odunfa with subtle minimalist approach saturates his works with obvious brush strokes that are gentle and aggressive as his mood dictates. He create works in which a fascination with clarity and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art becomes found. Olajide’s paintings are mostly night scene of landscapes. He illuminates his scenes to change the stereotype effects of unreliable supply of electricity in Nigerian streets. Godwin’s use of alternative materials are highly innovative and surpasses routine techniques. His works are multi-sensual as he creates solid ground for love, unity and peace.

  "Ogunwo ventilates loudly via rich texture created by his pallete with aims at addressing the social-political issues ranging from corruption and moral deficit in anticipation that Nigeria will be a giant nation again. Okonkwo’s Paintings though drawn from emotion, memories, nature, event, experience etc., are mystical as you will keep gazing to find more personal meaning. Chigbo presents an adventure of feeling subjects as seen by the artist. 
Yusuf’s works are visual interpretation done with dexterous experimentation fuelled with expressive drama. Ibrahim Afegbua approach his sculptures with process that are unconventional, he explores different materials and methods with passion for use of found objects, inter playing them in his works. He uses binding wires and rods in creating indefinite forms suggesting movement, shapes and forms."

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