By Tajudeen Sowole
With 15,000 enthusiasts on his Facebook fan page, 29,000 on Instagram and 48,000 followers in general, a realism painter, Mr. Olumide Oresegun, is no doubt the new kid on the block who is re-energising photo-finish painting in Nigeria.
Oresegun’s Packing Time painting (26x35 inches-2, 2016)
Five years ago, June 2011 specifically, Oresegun as a signature, was hardly known. This was so even in his base, the Lagos art scene, when he made his first solo art exhibition titled Moment of Reason at Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi. In fact, his work was barely acknowledged by art aficionados, when he returned to the same gallery in 2014 with another set of realism body of work shown as Glistening.
Two years after - with a rising profile - Oresegun is back at the same gallery, with works that will show from September 30 to October 7, 2016. Revelation is the new body of work he describes as improvement on his past works. Splash, drips, flow and every other movement of water, particularly on human skin, appear to be the trademark of Oresegun.
If anyone thought his previous works were 'faultless', some of the pieces seen during a preview ahead of Revelation's opening offer comparative advantage. “The finishing is now more hyperrealism than what I did earlier.”
And the difference is clear in the texture of the water-effects. For example, the flow, drip or splash of water appear more real now with true opaque rendition compared to whitish look in his previous works. This much is explained in a 2016 piece titled Playing Time in which six children are captured at a water pool or stream.
Oresegun's strong followership on social media is not just cosmetic, so suggests the artist's claims of new awakening among young artists and non-artists alike. "I got lots of messages and mails daily from young artists and even those who know nothing about art," he discloses. "Some of my followers, particularly fresh graduates and under-graduates, want me to train them in hyperrealism painting, but I don't have facility to carry out such services."
For those whose certitude swims in perception that realism painting has no prospect in Nigeria, the unprecedented followership in Oresegun's art, within a short period, is not good news. Perhaps, in years and decades to come, the Lagos art landscape would take a new phase, redefining contemporaneity and challenging Avant-garde expression beyond what has been confined as 'conceptual.' And realism painting is set to compete in that space, so it seems.
Quite an army of young artists, in the last a decade or more have been intimidated to dump Fine Art and embrace 'contemporary' expression. For Oresegun, he was never distracted, adding, "There is no form of art I am not at home with. But personally, I think realism tells a story better."
As contentious as his argument on which form of art tells a story better may be, the point being made with Oresegun and a new followership in realism confirms how the creative world keeps evolving its dynamics. No one has the monopoly of determining what makes contemporary contents as some curators and other managers of art, particularly in Nigeria, are trying to whip everyone into line.
Two months ago, Oresegun extended his palette to the international space when he showed at a group show, Latin American, Canadian and Aboriginal Art Exhibition, held in Vancouver, Canada.
Oresegun holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate from Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech) Lagos, Nigeria in 2006.
Among his past group exhibitions are: The God Of Ages, 2002, Didi Museum, Victoria Island, Lagos: and Where The Journey Ends And Begins, 2004, Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba.
In 2005, he won the third prize at the Goethe Institut/Chidi Kwubiri Competition, organized by Goethe Institute, Lagos, Nigeria.