Sunday 11 February 2018

Waiting For Watercolour Masters At 'The Content'

Sam Ovraiti’s ‘We Are So Many We are of One Mind. Why Are We So Different?
In its third of the series titled The Conten - Spring Edition, within one year, the organisers, Adam&Eve, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, is showing the seven artists as watercolour masters from April 1 - 30, 2018. Adam&Eve started the series mid-2017 with The Content and later showed The Content - Harmattan Edition at the same venue later in the year.  
 Olu Ajayi, Ini Brown, Tayo Adenaike, Sam Ovraiti, Lekan Onabanjo, Kehinde Sanwo and Victor Obasuyi are the master watercolourists of The Content -Spring Edition show. 
  The exhibitions are aimed
at creating windows for art appreciation to thrive outside the traditional Lagos/Victoria Islands art hubs of the city. Curated by Onabanjo - the same curator of the first two shows - The Content - Spring Edition, according to the organisers, is aimed at keeping the watercolour medium alive among artists and patrons.
  “We are showing watercolour because the medium is gradually dying,” Onabanjo stated. “We have chosen the select masters who have made marks in the medium over the decades.”
  While assuring that the ultimate goal of Adam&Eve to have The Content Art Gallery established would still be a reality, the curator insisted that “the main objective is to get people on the mainland to appreciate art.”
  One of the exhibiting artists, Ovraiti, however, argued that watercolour has not really disappeared, but that it has been clouded by “fad” of materials in the Nigerian art environment.
  “Fad is the thing that is taking over the art scene,” Ovraiti, a prominent watercolour master, said. “The fad of mixed media, installation, etc, have been gaining more grounds” and cited how the “best of Nigerian artists like Ben enwonwu, Obiora Udechukwu, among others were known watercolourists.”
  Ovraiti also noted lack of materials in the past few years as another factor that affected the growth of the medium in Nigeria.
  “Because of the high cost of material like the paper - which doesn’t allow for errors, most artists stay away from watercolour,” he added.
  When the exhibition opens, the expansive Adam&Eve space will display 10 works from each of the seven artists.
  Reviving collectors’ interest in watercolour would not be any problem with The Content- Spring Edition as “There is always a collector for every medium,” Onabanjo said, adding, “You will be surprised that people have been waiting for watercolour exhibition such as this.”
  Apart from the technical challenge in controlling the flow of the medium on paper, thereis also the limitation in size. But a few artists know how to find their way around the size challenge, as “Professionals like us go beyond the regular sizes of small to much larger ones,” Ovraiti, whose career spans three decades, boasted. “Watercolour serves the richness of having so many works on your walls. But on collector apathy, the bigger the size.”
  For Sanwo, whose paintings on canvas document old architecture, “the content of an artwork should be the value not the size.” 
  From the complexity of controlling the flow, to size challenge, artists of The Content - Spring Edition appear to have the experience required to make a great come-back for watercolour. With the new set of artists showing at Adam&Eve, the list keeps growing. Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya, Kolade Oshinowo, Raqib Bashorun, Zinno Orara, Duke Asidere, Fidelis Odogwu, Juliet Ezenwa, Francis Uduh, Ibe Ananaba, Damola Adepoju among others also showed in the first two editions.

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