|'Gele Odun III' (in diptych thread on linen, 45 x 58in, dated 2022), by Temitayo Badru.|
WHEN the duo art exhibition by Oluwatosin Toromade and Temitayo Badru opened on May 2, 2022 at Art Pantheon Gallery, 12D Bosun Adekoya Street, Oniru, Lagos, the artists attempted an artistic probity into identity.
For Art Pantheon Gallery, the exhibition, simply titled Me & Him - Two Sides Of A Coin', currently showing till May 22, 2022, there came an assertion in fresh approach in articulating identity, tradition and personal history. And capturing the theme in incendiary visual culture are two artists whose individual skills generate unique aesthetics and insights.
As the exhibition honours tradition and personal history., it also offers a space to reflect, appreciatively, on individuals' identity as well as on the various phases of the people's journey that make them who they are.
Among the pieces expected at the exhibition are 'Gele Odun III' (in diptych thread on linen, 45 x 58in, dated 2022); Breathe, Problem No Dey Finish' (acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72in, dated 2022) by Badru; Balloon Series like 'Masked and Proud' (acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 60 x 72in); and 'Tribute To Eden II' (oil on canvas, 48 x 60in) by Toromade. With these and other artworks for the exhibition, the artists weave some kind of suspense around the Me & Him theme of their painterly convergence.
"In order to do this, they may have called to mind the image of two halves of a frame: the personal and the collective,"
Curator and Founder at Art Pantheon Gallery, Nana Sonoiki said. "What energies and renewed awareness are created at the boundaries of interaction between the sojourn of the individual and the legacies of tradition?" Sonoiki explained: "Me & Him is, among other things, about the insights we reap from this kind of reflection."
The 'Two Sides Of A Coin' factor in the exhibition explained: "When we decide to trace the history of a dog, we cannot but tell the tale of the cooking pot that made the meat tasty, likewise no chef can cook the fireweed vegetables enough to rid it of its scent." The two analogous statements jointly issued by Badru and Toromade create a pedestal on which the theme of the exhibition is mounted.
Excerpts from the Artists Statements: "It is the reason as you would find out soon that this exhibition is being held in the first place and subsequently carrying the messages with which it has been laden. The number two is significant in a number of senses. “Can two walk together, except they agreed?” The answer to this biblical and rhetorical question needs no guessing.
"The artists on display have a long history together. They are graduates of the philosophically aligned 'Ife Art School', having been properly initiated into the depth of ideology springing forth wisdom from “The Source '' as Ife is popularly known. This is the reason for the dynamism in the approach to the art that you will find in their works, from materials to medium and execution.
"They have engaged art beyond aesthetics while retaining the lure of aesthetics; and used the subject of art as a tool to inspire social debates as well as address human issues. While some may call them social commentators, theor art are beyond commentary; they are in a manner of speaking society’s conscience, drilling deep into the annals of human interactions, like engineers, to create works that address the hidden issues of man’s day-to-day life, drawing from history and a keen observation of their immediate and lager environment.
"If art was a coin produced in Ile-Ife, Toro and Badru, have, by the reason of this exhibition qualified to be the two sides of that coin, among the numerous prodigious artists that Obafemi Awolowo University has produced. While Badru is a textile graduate of the Ife Art School, Toro graduated in Painting as both of them, are, by the evidence before in this exhibition, distinctions in their rights.
"Two sides of a coin is the parable that exposes the ideals of the exhibition with a rider title 'Me & Him'. It is the interrogation of the decision of two artists and their diversity of expressions using art as a vehicle. From the theme, one may infer that there is a side “Me” and side “Him” of the exhibition coin. Interestingly, that is not a constant if viewed from Badru’s side Toro becomes side him and vice versa. While it may be the intention of the artists to leave the audience to fill in the gap of who is Me and Him among the two, it is more revealing that the exhibition title is a puzzle with two sides seeking answers. And as earlier mentioned, the number two is important in this exhibition - Two artists, Two Unique expressions and two streams of messages, but the coin remains the same."
|'Masked and Proud' (acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 60 x 72in, dated 2021), by Oluwatosin Toromade.|
Art Pantheon Gallery Statement:
"The two artists in the show are Nigerians who grew up in the country, and their works reflect this much. Toromade, born in Lagos and educated in Ife, paints figures that bear the dissatisfaction, struggle, tenacity, and joy that Nigerians anywhere would recognize. His figures in his Balloon and Sojourner series typify these aspects of our character as a people and invite us to ponder them closely.
"Badru, who hails from Abeokuta and went to University of Ife, has built an œuvre that draws inspiration from Yoruba tradition and cosmology. According to him, he is keenly interested in amplifying the etymological meanings of traditional 'adire eleko' patterns. Myths, folklore, proverbs, and spirituality animate his works.
About Art Pantheon.
Art Pantheon, which announced its arrival in 2020 consists of a team of professional and creative minds who believe strongly in Contemporary African Art. The team specializes in exhibitions, documenting private and corporate collections, in contributing to global art economy by offering services such as appraisals and valuations for insurance and market evaluations.