Friday 7 April 2023

‘Biodun Omolayo: Embodying Passion, Focus, Resilience, and Dedication

'Rainbow Child' (mixed media) by Biodun Omolayo.

By Adeola Balogun 

IT takes focused energy and resilience for the laser beam to cut through a material. This assertion is in connection with ‘Biodun Omolayo’s passion for his self-imposed mission the very day he made up his mind to revert to art after his first degree in theatre art. ‘Biodun, a short form of “Ojo gbo-gbo bi odun” which could loosely be translated as “every day is akin to a festival”, wanted to study visual art. Omolayo, the fashionista has demonstrated uncanny ability in visual art right from his childhood. He intuitively practices it as a toddler. However, his father (late) would have none of that, rather the old man wanted his son to tread a different career path.

Though he was in the banking industry for about a decade, he eventually focused on studying art which has always fascinated him. True satisfaction and success do not happen by chance; they are an aggregate of dedication and hard work. Biodun, a friend whom I had the privilege of mentoring at the prestigious Yaba College of Technology could be regarded as an embodiment of resilience and hard work. On this premise, Omolayo’s success should not come to us as a mystery.

Having come to the realization of his life’s purpose, right from his studentship days in Yaba Tech, Omolayo had already established ‘Specific’, an outfit dedicated to the production and promotion of diverse genres of arts. Despite the fact that he specialized in graphics, he hit the ground running after graduating with the establishment of the ‘Biodun Omolayo Art Gallery’. Akin to the muster seed, what started as a mini-gallery in one of the ‘huts’ in the National Museum is now a flourishing gallery as it occupies a befitting space in City Mall, Onikan, Lagos. The gallery is a beehive of activities all year round. 

The art graduates of our great institution are well-groomed to weather existential storms. Hence, they continue to positively impact the local and international art community in a myriad of ways. Without gainsay, their contributions have always culminated in a healthy socio-economic and cultural environment which cannot be overstated in nation-building. Thus, as an alumnus, Omolayo embodies our core values in his calling.

Regardless of its genre, art can be regarded as a means of articulating and projecting an individual’s emotional state. In this context, one might want to postulate that this solo outing is aptly themed “The Storm is Over” in view of the embedded metaphorical allusions. This exhibition is the sequel to “Naming Ceremony” which marked Biodun’s 40th birthday as well as his formal adventure into the creative industry. It is general knowledge that a naming ceremony is usually conducted after childbirth. Though this significant event varies from one culture or religion to another, its symbolism is encompassing. The naming ceremony could be said to mark the initiation of the toddler to the turbulence and vicissitudes of life.

Empirically, it has been proven that the environment cum vagaries of life do profoundly inform the level of growth and the coping mechanism developed by a child in adulthood; these factors do culminate in the making or otherwise of one’s life journey.  Against all odds, if such an individual is able to successfully birth his/her dreams and aspirations, then, he/she can confidently make that pronouncement that the storm is over. It is on this premise that we all want to reach a consensus about the aptness of this exhibition as an illustrative metaphor for the plethora of pains and agonies being inflicted on man by fellow man; COVID-19 and the resultant effects of the global economic downturn are still fresh in our minds.      

Omolayo’s narrative as far as his public visual presentations are concerned holds alluring metaphors for the teeming public. His works are instructive and inspiring as they are steep in existential allusions to the travails and triumphs of the human temporal journey. It is on this note that we want to congratulate and felicitate ‘Biodun Omolayo on this thematic second outing which embodies hard work, resilience, and commitment to his passion. Happy viewing. 

-Published in the catalogue of Biodun Omolayo's solo art exhibition titled 'The Storm is Over', currently showing at Omolayo Gallery, Onikan, Lagos.

Adeola Balogun Ph.D, is Chief Lecturer, Fine Art Department, School of Art, Design and Printing Tech., Yaba College of Technology, Lagos.

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