Sunday 1 September 2019

'Freudian Tones' of women, emotion in Adejumo’s canvas

 'Earth Lady Cry', by Segun Adejumo.
Having devoted a greater part of over three decades career replicating female anatomy in painting and drawing, Segun Adejumo now probes deeper into the chemistry of emotion that a woman's figure generates.

Based in Lagos, Nigeria, Adejumo, in his current work aligns artistic narrative with the famous Australian neurologist, Freud Sigmund's scientific analysis on female body and attraction. From September 8-15, 2019, at Old Brompton Gallery, London, U.K, Adejumo will be sharing his thoughts via a 'salon' show of about 15 paintings titled Freudian Tones.

While embarking on his painterly adventure through edification of women, the artist also makes a stop-over on the issue of leadership burden in Nigeria. Again, the female -- this time in modest and graceful appearance -- is implored to draw attention to a contentious and volatile ethno-social crisis back home in Nigeria.

In 2011, Adejumo had his last solo titled Ideal and Ideas, at Nettatal Luxury, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in which he provided a non-native perspective on the volatile Niger Delta narrative. Between that exhibition and the artist’s current show, there is a commonality in the area of environment, of which he touches briefly in the new body of work.

Beyond the surface of the natural attraction between man and woman, the artist's brushings explain, in detail, how forms and senses communicate. Imploring light and shades of hues -- mostly on the yellowish tones -- Adejumo presents canvas of romanticized figures.

Among the paintings in which the artist takes creative perspective into probity of women’s emotion is ‘Single Bloom.’ With roving palettes that coalesce combustible  colours, Adehumo's brushing, in the painting explain a lady’s natural reluctance to initiate romantic feeling untiĺ a man makes the index move. “Women’s area of strength is about influence not assertion,” Adejumo told his guest in Lagos shortly before leaving for London. Also, seen during the preview is ‘Bogolan (blanket)', a painting, he said derives its identity from Malian word. Adejumo, an artist who has developed passion in traveling across the West Africa coast for inspiration, implores the Malian theme to extend the emotion analyses about ladies' subtlety. 

For environment and climate related interests, a seated woman bathe in subtle yellow dominance and shade of red titled 'Lady Earths Cry' seeks some intervention from above, so suggests her gesture.  

Recently, Adejumo’s works in brushstrokes of ladies, heavy down the buttocks  side, appears to speak much in anatomical expression. He uses the same style again in 'Lady Earth Cry', emitting the common fragility that holds the world and its inhabitants.

At this current period of volatile statehood of Nigeria, it is insensitive to display indifference, so suggests Adejumo's thoughts on government's efforts at handling recurring bloody clashes always linked to conflicts of space between herders and farmers. More complex on the issue is how banditry and kidnapping have strayed into the business of cattle rearing. And as the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has been caught on the wrong side of articulating information with his now infamous "isolated killings" speech contents, Adejumo's canvas satires the former's wife, Dolapo. In what should have radiated beauty on canvas, the painting titled 'For Whom the Bell Tolls', emits the sight of a devil.  Adejumo dresses Dolapo elegantly in 'buba' and 'iro', but introduces the bestial part of the narrative by planting cow horns on her 'gele' (headgear). Is Adejumo’s depiction of Dolapo, adorned in cow horns, not too harsh in criticising Osinbajo? "The burden of not saying something when we all keep quiet; the bell tolls on all of us," Adejumo argued ahead of the exhibition. Flood of criticism from some sections of the public against Prof Osinbajo’s slip of speech confirmed the burden of leadership, particularly in an ethnically charged political Nigerian environment.

'Lady Waiting' by Segun Adejumo.
Female-related subjects are familiar in the oeuvre of Adejumo. For example, he was in Accra Ghana five years ago for workshop about Efua, a late woman activist who campaigned against female genital mutilation. The workshop, he recalled, energised his earlier themes on female. "I worked on genital mutilation much earlier from 2011-2014." Traced of such are most likely be seen in his London show, he said.

Organised by Jadé Art, with the support of Mr Femi Lijadu, Mr Olayinka Fisher and Arian Capital Management Limited, the exhibition is curated by Aderonke Akinyele-Bolanle. Noting that “Freudian Tones” is a highly romanticised expression of man's desire for a woman with respectful restraints, the curator said the concept was carved out of the artist’s love for Freud Sigmund. “The female figure is the major capture in which the artist uses to communicate to his audience,” Akinyele-Bolanle explained. “The female figure if professionally manipulated artistically is capable of impacting altered emotions; this is one credit to Adejumo, as he is an expert in using the female figure as a mouthpiece in asserting his concepts.” The central theme in interplay of ideas and concepts, the curator stated "explain the primary aim of the exhibition, which is to prove that art is a very effective tool for illustrating affairs of life."
 Adejumo (b. 1965), graduated at Yaba College of Technology and is a former president, Guild of Professional Artists of Nigeria (GFA).
 -Tajudeen Sowole.

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