|Artists of Next of Kin, in Lagos... recently. Pic: c/o Thought Pyramid.
Ikechukwu Ezeigwe, Alogi John, Julius Agbaje, Segun Fagorusi, Odibo Odiabhehor, Badru Taofeek, Ifeanyi Ugwoke, Olukotun Opeyemi, Edozie Anedu and Tobiloba Kareem are the young artists in the race for the future. Themed Next of Kin, the art competition, which is in second edition opens its 2019 grand finale on March 16, 2019 at Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The Next of Kin gathering, according to Thought Pyramid, seeks to bring to the fore untapped talents in the select artists and showcase them to the world "by offering an already established platform to hearten their creativity." Listed as benefits are: First prize carries four weeks residency, Second prize attracts N150,000 and Third place gets N100,000. The winners will be announced at the exhibition opening on the March 16, 2019.
Ezeigwe's painting titled 'Slay Mama' narrates the story of old ladies who still want to be trendy and fashionable. In stylized, perhaps, satirical form, Ezeigwe captures heavily make over face that appears peeling off the skin, but in animal depiction. "I see such ladies a lot on my street," he said.
For Alogi, it is about celebrating African mothers in a painting titled 'Routine-I (Virtues)'. From high angle view, his strokes in realism rendition capture a young lady surrounded with domestic wares in what looks like dish washing. "African women, particularly the Yoruba, train their children in domestic chores, to prepare the girl child for future marrital life," Alogi, a native of Abeokuta, Ogun State noted.
With a dog head placed on semi-nude human body, Agbaje also goes cultural in deep Yoruba philosophy. He mocks ladies of promiscuous characters by using dog in analogious context. "I am trying to engage the Yoruba belief of 'ise eranko ise eniyan) to situate human and animal character alike."
In defence of old ladies, Fagorusi's realism painting of four women titled 'Stakeholders' Meeting', abhors how the society castigates aged people as 'witches'. "Sometimes we call them witches, and particularly, Nollywood as well as the social media castigate them too."
In a simple portrait of unidentified male titled 'To Will', Odiabhehor's painting preaches pluralism. The artist argued that his choice of portrait for the subject, using "lines, colours and shapes" communicate the message of being comfortable about "what you believe in and respect that of others too."
However, whoever is not so fortunate to be tolerated has a succour in Badru's painterly collage, but embroidery titled 'Eebu d'ola Mi' (Being Bullied Is My Strength). "It is my mother's adapted name as the last wife in the family, but got over all the intimidation as she ended up being celebrated by all."
Ugwoke's 'Desired Freedom' situates zebra's vulnerability in the jungle on similar scale with violation of children's right. With zebra motifs on a profile view of the young subject in the painting, the artist warned that abuse of children should be checked as "every child desires to live a good life and excel like other children."
In a hyper realism capture of commercial motorcyclists waiting for passengers, Opeyemi's 'Options Available' depicts the survival race of urban dwellers. The lady as a passenger searching for an affordable means of transport, the artist explained, "represents the hardship people go though everyday in the city."
Interrogating the current state of affair in Nigeria, Anedu's 'Religion, Politics and What Not' -- highly stylized in figuratives --. depicts how the society relates to institutions. "The police, political class and others, all dividing the society to their gains, yet getting everyone in disarray."
In simplified monochrome capture of moods, Kareem's graphite and pencil piece titled 'Palava' also celebrates woman. The three moods in one, of a girl, he explained "is about the right of a lady to be heard."