Sunday 11 June 2017

Taking 'The Content' of art to design space on the Mainlaind

Architectural painting by Lekan Onabanjo
WHEN art leaves its Lagos Island’s hub onto the mainland part of the city, there comes a rare synergy with design space. Taking up that challenge of giving the mainland, specifically Ikeja, a taste of collectible art in the home of design are master printmaker, Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya, Kolade Oshinowo, Raqib Bashorun, Lekan Onabanjo, Tola Wewe, Duke Asidere, Alex Nwokolo, Zinno Orara and Fidelis Odogwu.
  From June 18 through July 10, 2017, the artists, under the title The Content, are showing that their decades of
practice are indeed masterly. They are showing at luxury design space, Adam&Eve, GRA, Ikeja.

  Whatever the texture of exclusivity that art enjoys can be found not just only in the two existing hubs of Lagos, but also in axis as crucial like Ikeja, a central business and residential mixed district. In expanding the value of 21st century art appreciation, Ikeja could boast of the additional flavour, just as the exhibition is set to blaze the trail in common space for art and design pieces.

  With a strong clientele base generated in its 20 years of existence, Adam&Eve as a luxury item shop, could just be on the right track in showing The Content. Specifically, the new alternative art space would be bringing onto the Nigerian art appreciation scene a new set of art collectors to complement the existing and emerging energy of art connoisseurs.

  Centrally, the aim of Adam&Eve’s venture into the Nigerian art appreciation environment is to coalesce the functionality of design objects with pieces of art, created by some of the country’s most vibrant modern and contemporary artists.

  “We have been selling luxury items to those who know quality for 20 years, and now art, which is also luxury, can be appreciated by the same clients,” CEO at Adam&Eve, Mrs. Modupe Ogunlesi, told her guests inside her expansive shop. “With The Content, we are sure of a good start in bringing art to Ikeja.”

  Ogunlesi argued that Ikeja is no less commercial or business district compared to Lagos and Victoria islands, noting, “The fact that Ikeja is the seat of power for the state government is enough strength in economic advantage to boost the sale of art.”   

  Ogunlesi’s confidence is perhaps based on the fact that the exhibition displays artists whose signatures are among the most attractive to collectors. Being curated by Onabanjo, The Content has the most renowned African printmaker, Onobrakpeya, 85, who brings into the exhibition his mastery of printmaking that has endured over the decades as one of the leading signatures favoured by art collectors of all ages.

  For several decades, Oshinowo has established his art in mastery of the canvas with simplified realism painting. But a few years ago, the artist started introducing a new texture with the application of fabrics in mixed media and collage forms. 

  Quite a perfect mix for an artist whose work, most times, enact the ever exciting social circle of partying enthusiasts in the western part of Nigeria. So, The Content would afford visitors opportunity to see a new period of Oshinowo, whose career spans generations of artists trained under his watch. Among the works he is showing is Owambe, an all females dressed-for-party painting that populates the canvas. In this green and yellow hues’ piece, Oshinowo flaunts his mastery of depicting the resilient Yoruba gele and two-piece iro/buba designs.

  Bashorun is no doubt the most exhibited design-artist on the Nigerian creative landscapes. For The Content, the artist who was a lecturer at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, until few years ago, brings into the exhibition some sculptures in wood as well as mixed media of wood and metal. Bashorun who has never hidden his dislike for Nigeria’s inability to take advantage of the country’s huge art and design professionals for technological advancement, continues his advocacy in that direction with some of his pieces being shown at the inaugural gathering.

  Trained at School of Art and Design, Auchi Polytechnic in 1988, another exhibiting artist, Zinno Orara is showing a conceptual touch to portraiture rendition. Among his works are The Visionary series, Fruitful and Dependable. Working in oil on canvas and sometimes mixed media, Orara expresses boldness in probing features of human and plants, perhaps to unravel the spiritual contents. In Dependable, the artist’s textured canvas enriches the gathering of select masters that celebrate creativity in both intellectual and functional expressions at Adam&Eve’s gathering for The Content.

  Onabanjo is taking his revered signature of architectural palette into the interior with a painting titled Deep Research, among others. In the painting, an artist’s brushing or paletting takes a visit into the study room and confirms the intellectuality of painterly strokes, even in the realm of the academia.

  “It’s time for art to move onto the mainland,” Onabanjo stated. “This is not just an overnight decision, Ogunlesi and our team have been on this for quite a while, with the aim of proving that there are collectors on the mainland, too.”

  As lovers of art and design visit The Content, an atmosphere of creative convergence is radiated from the architectural masterpiece of the palatial interior of Adam&Eve. Making the best of the depth that exists in the structures of the interior, the curatorial team of The Content gives each exhibiting artist, a space created to allow the works breathe, even among the design objects.

  For collectors of luxury items, The Content will perhaps, challenge the sense of  art appreciation on the mainland.
 -Tajudeen Sowole

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