Saturday 2 October 2021

At Signature, screw art of Akano generates 9Gems


Sisi Eko (steel screw, dyed paper and acrylic ) by Segun Akano

IN Segun Akano's mastery of the screw materials, Signature Beyond Gallery finds another reason to boost art appreciation.

For its pssion, over the past two decades, in uncovering African artists of fresh concepts and techniques, Signature Beyond Gallery is showing Akano's relief wall pieces. As one of the artists in Nigeria, exploring new visual paths, Akano takes his relief sculptures back in time,  revisiting history and tradition with fussion of contemporary forms.

Showing as relief sculptures of "timeless values," Akano's solo art exhibition titled 9Gems has been on display from October 1-8, 2021 at Signature Beyond Gallery, 107, Awolowo Raod, Ikoyi, Lagos. Akano builds his relief pieces with steel screws on board, dyed paper and  acrylic colours on autobase background. 

Among the relief sculptures is Pa Ki O Tan, which is about a true life story of a great Hunter; aboriginal settler. Known as a scout and pathfnder, he led the first settler groups to the traditional homeland Ogbomoso.

Excerpts from narration accompanying the exhibition; "In traditional Yoruba society, the hunters were the elites on whom society depended for its security and intelligence. TI'll currently, the same nominal 'ode' denotes hunter and security guard.

"The Pa Ki O tan story is about the artist’s great great grandfather. He was said to be one of the greatest hunters from Ogbomoso  He migrated by foot all the way from Ilorin to Ogbomoso (now in Oyo state) hunting through the thick forest, sleeping and living in the midst of wild animals as he moved from one location to another.

"He killed several wild animals to survive, 'Pakiotan' can be translated to mean; the animals were inexhaustible despite the numerous killings by him.

"He kept hunting for several days until he began to meet humans like him on his path.

It was told in the history of Pakiotan' that he possessed and acquired all the land he hunted on from the borders of Ogbomoso until he fnally settled down somewhere he was comfortable with in Ogbomoso.

 "He eventually became the chief (baale) of his settlement / clan named afer him as Pakiotan. In communities like Tedé, Àgó -Àre and Sakí, all in the Òkè -Ògùn area of Oyo State, the contemporary hunter is also a security guard.  Such guard is the one who protects his society from the others, the unknown and the unpleasant. The stories of origin generally depict hunters as aboriginal settlers and ofen as scouts and pathfnders who led the first settler groups to the traditional homeland.

"The origin narratives of such Yoruba towns and cities as Ògbómòsó, Ede and Òsogbo are ready examples. Specifcally, the Ògbómòsó narrative, inspired a play entitled 'Ogbori Elemoso' by actor, Lere Paimo."

Director of Signature Beyond,  Rahman Akar, in a Gallery Statement noted that Akano brings old tradition into new contemporaneity  Nigerian art environment. "Segun Akano stands counted among talented artists that provide alternative visual narratives that complement the story of contemporary Nigerian art. The way he renders his subject matter with his mode of execution and unique configuration sets his style apart."

Another piece, among the 9Gems is Eja Osan. "One of Nigeria’s highly priced seafood item, is the fsh known in Yoruba as Eja Osan or Dansarki in Hausa or in Igbo as Azu Asa. It is highly regarded and expensive delicacy and often used as part of paying dowry / bride price. It"s so highly regarded, a famous Nigerian musician, King Sunny Ade (KSA), sang about it in one his very popular Owanmbe party songs. KSA sang; 'Kile le le yi o? Eja Osan. Eja tutu Sokoyokoto....'

 "Not everyone in the country has access to this fish as it is only sold in specifc locations . It is not farmed, and those sold are caught in the wild, making them even more desirable.

"The fish has an eel like appearance but in contrast, has scales and an unusually rat -like tail. It is covered in scales with an undulating dorsal fn. It generates electricity like other eels but not enough to affect humans. Like other fish, Eja Osan is a good source of protein with some nutritionally beneficial fats/oils.

Eja Osan, which is referred to as Aba Knifefsh in other parts of the world, is cooked fresh in soups and stews and it can also be smoked and dried to preserve it."

Akano launched his art with a debut solo exhibition titled Refections on Niger  at Council for Art and Culture, Minna, Niger State in 2010. In 2017,  he showed another solo Womanhood, an exhibition of steel screw sculptures at Signature Beyond Art Gallery; and  New Beginning at Cal Bank Head Office, Accra, Ghana 2019, among others. 

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