Friday 28 May 2021

With art of 'Infinite Growth', Adekola makes debut solo show

'Swinming in Joy' (acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 100 x 100cm) by Suraj Adekola.

In 14 years of post-training studio career, Suraj Adekola has developed his art through the landscape of vertical and linear shades of painting techniques. Currently, the artist has added some optical effects to his canvas.

Flaunting his steady progression, Adekola, based in Lagos, has featured his works in quite a number of group art exhibitions, within and outside Nigeria, over the years. But a more enriching and broader window comes as Adekola shows his debut solo art exhibition titled Infinite Growth from Saturday, May 29-June 5, 2021 at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos. Interestingly, Alexis Galleries has been part of Adekola's past when the artist was featured in a group exhibition titled Triad with Monsur Awotunde and Olorunfemi Kinrin in 2018.

Why is Alexis showing Adekola in a solo? "Over the years the gallery has consistently collected and shown works of emerging and established artists, providing diversity in content, perspective, and style," Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis,  founder and curator of Alexis Galleries stated. "Adekola has established himself as one of the leading African artists of international repute." The curator noted that the artist's works "precede him." 

 Having tracked the artist for many years, Chidiac-Mastrogiannis noticed how he uses his works in what she described "as a necessary tool to engage and deliver his message of hope and positivity around the world, despite the consistent ills that surface in society." Aesthetics value aside, Adekola's works, according to the curator is about exploring multiple factors in art appreciation. "He believes that art derives relevance from more than just its aesthetic qualities but also from the values it sources from such as its social, cultural, historical, and psychological factors."

Despite her tracking of Adekola and working with the artist for many years. Chidiac-Mastrogiannis said "my gallery has nothing to do with his growth, but his work does." She added that "there are many artists I know during the same period, but remained stagnated in in their work."

Adekola proudly noted that his works, currently, "are different from what I used to do five years ago." The theme of the exhibition, he said, "reflects what my work has been over time," even though  "majority of them are recent works." And there are quite a number of his works, in facial themes, with bold smiles. "I introduced the smiles and happy mood to show that despite the pandemic Africa is happy."

Nearly 15 years post-trainng is a long time to have a solo exhibition, he agreed.  He attributes his long wait to the delay in gathering enough works to show. "It's been a tough one trying to assemble works for a show which is why I have not been able to have my first aolo until now."

From one style or technique to another, some followers of artist's progression could get lost on the path of appreciation. For Adekola, taking "collectors along with new styles and technique is not so much of challenge because  I always link one stage of my work to another."

As Infinite Growth opens to the public in physical viewing, the exhibition's virtual tour will also be published on the opening day, on the gallery’s social media handles; Instagram- alexisgalleries, Facebook- Thehomestores & Alexisgalleries. "The exhibition promises to be intriguing for both virtual and live view," the curator assured.

The exhibition is sponsored by  Pepsi Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, The Guardian, Wazobia TV, Cool FM, UPS, Haier Tjermocool, Cobranet, Delta Airlines, Aina Blankson, The Homestores, ART Cafe, Lost In Lagos , Arzeh Intergrated Ltd and Amg Logistics.

"We are pleased to announce that the gallery will be partnering with “Little sisters of the poor,” Chidiac-Mastrogiannis stated. "They offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ cared for as family, and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to Himself." Chidiac-Mastrogiannis assured that part of the proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to Little Sisters Of the Poor.

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