Thursday 8 December 2022

'Introspection' of Akinwolere's visual tale goes to Thought Pyramid

' I Pledge to Banana Republic' (oil on canvas, 43"x30.5", dated 2021), by Muyiwa Akinmolere.

DESCRIBED as a traveling art exhibition, Introspection, a solo show by Muyiwa Akinwolere continues from December 10-30 2022 at Thought Pyramid Art Centre, 96 Norman Williams Street, Ikoyi Lagos. Last month, the exhibition was shown at Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. 

Akinwolere, in his Artist Statement disclosed that he is telling "a tale of a bard who has lived through an impasse."

"Introspection presents selected works of Muyiwa Akinwolere in a manner that opens a window into his thoughts, observations, satire and commentaries. Born in 1976 in Osogbo, Nigeria, Muyiwa grew up at a time of cultural appreciation in Nigeria. 

"He grew up seeing the works of Susanne Wenger, Duro Ladipo and many other artists from Òsogbo. This early exposure to Yoruba works would later influence his practice. He picks the features of Òsogbo soapstone sculptures - round eyes, nose, mouth, form - as his signature style and has evolved in its rendition and delineation, over the years. 

"As a keen observer, Muyiwa draws from his observation to address and comment on social and political issues in the society in a satiric manner that borders between metaphor, hyperbole and sarcasm. In Èmi l'ó kàn, the artist depicts a tortoise leading an elephant to fulfill his self-centred ambition, to comment on the entitlement and egocentric attitude of Nigerian politicians with the use of Yorùbá folklore. In the background, motifs and patterns of Yorùbá Àdìre attests to his exploration of cultural nuances to elevate and deepen his narrative.

"In this campaign season, the Nigerian landscape is filled with happenings and events that require introspection, questioning, commentaries and dialogue. This exhibition offers the space for such conversations." -Mathew Oyedele, Curator.

"My  first encounter with Muyiwa was during his solo exhibition “Once upon a time” held the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos in 2011; I was immediately captivated by his person and his works. From then up until now, I have seen him continuously engage creatively with his environment in ways that address relevant issues, stimulate creative conversations and provide possible answers to both simple and complex questions.

"I believe that those who seek to make significant and enduring impact in life have to be deliberate in their thoughts and actions, as no meaningful work can be achieved by chance - there is the need for consciousness with many elementary components of production such as thoughts entertained and nurtured, personal and professional development, work process, etc. One crucial factor however, which towers above all else in determining the quality of any sustained work, is regular and honest assessment.

"If we strip off all the facades, work in its true essence, is simply output (tangible or intangible) based on input which has been processed in a mind and expressed from the creator's point of view. The person therefore remains the most important factor in all factors of production; environment, subjects, materials, technology and every other factor of production meet their frontiers in the human mind.

"Having grown as an individual and a professional artist over the years, I agree with Muyiwa that he is absolutely at a very good time and place in his journey as an individual and a professional artist to have some crucial self-assessment. This is what this book and subsequent series of exhibitions represent."-Emmanuel Omoniyi Taiwo (PMP) wrote Foreword of 'Introspection' catalogue.

Artist Statement: "I have been contemplating a possibility.

"The possibility of letting out the steam from within me, that threatens to implode. The possibility of telling all that I saw, I am seeing and would later see.

"Language is never enough to convey these contemplations.

"Luckily, I am an artist and perhaps the only left here after the rapture of Nigerians to the abroad.

"So, I will tell a tale without words.

"My story is a tale of a bard who has lived through an impasse. It is a tale of many failed attempts. It is a tale of survival in a country where nothing works. It is a tale about little inside jokes that only those who wear my shoes can fully appreciate. It is a tale about “elder days” and my transition to contemporary madness and curated cacophony.

"I never knew the span of it is this humongous, until I lifted my head from the easel.

"I am telling my tale with ink, with hues with impasto, with marks, on paper, on linen, on cotton, on wood.

"I hope that you can relate."

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