Sunday, 1 April 2018

Rejuvenating Coptic Art In Makinde's 'Testament of The Last Supper' Painting

 
The Last Supper
Apart from being among the most popular stories of the Bible, 'The Last Supper' phenomenon remains an event that has left an indelible mark in the 2000 years history of Christianity as it is continuously refreshed through the annually celebrated Easter festivity. The chief purpose is to remember the beautiful personality of Jesus Christ and

the great sacrifice he made for the atonement of sin. While many view the occasion as a time to commemorate a deep reflection of what Christian values are, others seize the moment for merrymaking. For a creative visual artist like Adubi Mydaz Makinde, it is an opportunity to make a statement with artistic expression through the medium of a well laid out figurative composition on textured canvas.
As sensitive as it could be, religious subject has always fascinated artists and patrons’ alike. One of the most notable example of all time is Leonardo Da Vinci; the supreme genius of the renaissance. Among his famous works from this period was the majestic depiction of 'The Last Supper', whose composition dazzled contemporaries; a painting with contextual property  imbued in allegory. Alternatively, Adubi’s version of The Last Supper painting is colorized with innuendo that is set to allure viewers into a typical change in the contextual properties of the Last Supper story that has been deposited by time, a kind of alluvium that was brought upon by the contemporary world.
Hence, Adubi’s attempt in this painting is not a replay of an old tune but a reinterpretation of the underlying lyrics of the last supper song. While Da Vinci's most illustrious picture is notably “Mona Lisa”, his other works were remarkable for their Sfumato – a blending of tones so exquisite that the forms seem to have no lines or borders. In Adubi's usual trademark approach, he draws his audience into his world of fantasy where stylized forms and geometric shapes define the spatial harmony of his paintings. The subjects vary from modern Nigerian adaptations of iconic nativity themes to more indigenous representations of vibes that define contemporary characters. This 'Testament of The Last Supper' painting is therefore a statement that fascinates a renaissance in the 21st century African Christianity.
  In his biography, it is apparent that Adubi assimilated a lot from many African sculptures and artworks he encountered from his routine visits to the museum, and that has made a big impression in his formative years when he observed a bit of similarities in both African Sculpture and Coptic art. His art is fundamentally a materialistic marriage of both form of ancient African artistic expression. Adubi claims that his unique approach to executing artworks is basically like carving images on canvas.
Encyclopedia Britannica describe Coptic art as a visual art that is associated with the Egyptian Christian from 3rd-12th century A.D. It is essentially reflected in the stone reliefs, wood carvings, and wall paintings of the monasteries of Egypt. The style of Coptic Christian art evolved from the late antique art of Egypt. The stylistic flatness of Coptic art shows a movement away from a naturalistic rendering of the human form and features and of animal and plant ornamentation outline and detail are simplified, and the number of motifs is limited.
Adubi Mydaz loves to create new works with the hope of inspiring others. These works more often than not, address ideas about philosophy of life, psychology of mind and, contemporary topics of 21st century human stories of which he is a firsthand witness.  He has nurtured himself as a professional artist whose work has had remarkable realization in oils, acrylic, charcoal, and other media. Adubi’s colorful rendition changes in relation to the theme he chooses to explore. His depiction and stylization of an austere figurative composition, giving voluptuous form to enigmatic faces whose ethereal heads and bodies seem to flip right off the surface of canvas, is a leading modern Coptic art approach, which is highly attractive to established artists. In fact, it is being sought after by art collectors and galleries of modern and contemporary African art around the world.
 Adubi has never really been far away from depicting religious subjects as he already dedicated his first solo exhibition in 2013 titled Once Upon A Nigerian Christmas. The pictures in that show explored how Christmas is celebrated and experienced in Nigeria especially. His second solo exhibition in 2015 titled Ariya (Celebrations) focused on the art of celebrating in Nigerian events and occasions. In one of the exhibition's masterpiece titled “Ariya”, Adubi portrays the jubilating spirit of average Nigerians in any given platform where drummers, native attires and simulative dance moves determined the unique rendition of the art piece.
Adubi Makinde
  When asked why he chooses to paint 'Testament of The Last Supper', he remarked that the artwork materialized out of a commissioned request from one of his art patrons who however insists that Adubi’s personal perception of the subject matter 'The last supper', should be portrayed in this work.
Therefore, Testament of the last supper was borne out of the artist’s desire to make a vivid statement about the contemporary status of Christendom within African social cultural context. If an event such as Last Supper presented an opportunity for Jesus Christ to announce his betrayal by being sold for 30 pieces of silver; Adubi in this scenario attempted to portray some present day Judases’ of religious leaders whose packaging of the concept of Jesus Christ has been contrived into money making ventures, a huge digression from Jesus the messiah’s mission of soul winning and redemption of mankind………Mathew 23, 1-15.
  Sometimes, it seems Adubi aims to poke everyone in the eye with equal potency, no matter what his or her perspective of life might be. His works as a medium of providing testimony and redefining reality (amongst many other purpose of art) are best suited mostly for corporate environment, institutions and homes where great minds must be re-awaken time after time.
Adubi Mydaz J.O. Makinde was born on the 1st of September, 1978, in Nigeria. He is a self-trained professional visual artist whose work has continued to witness patronage by galleries, private collections and art institutions at home and abroad. A graduate of History and Diplomatic Studies from Olabisi Onabanjo University, he also has diploma certificate in Public Relations from the same alma mater.
Since 2006, Adubi has consistently participated in several group shows and art fares in Lagos and across the country, and he is known as a master colorist within the art circle. He went ahead to establish his art career with the two aforementioned impressive solo exhibitions in 2013 and 2015 and a couple of salon exhibits in key places. He is currently making preparation for another solo show in 2019. Adubi is aggregately positioned to emerge as an icon in modern and contemporary African art. He lives in Lagos where he explores his artistic passion in his private studio as a full time professional studio painter.
-Adubi Mydaz J.O. Makinde contributed the review to African Arts with Taj.

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