|'Jewel and Chain' (oil on canvas, 40" x 40", dated 2023) by Bukola Orioye.
FROM the depth of African descents' socio-cultural values, Bukola Orioye brings quite some rich themes that define the people's heritage and contemporary characteristics.
This much Orioye is currently showing in his second solo art exhibition titled Melanated Memoir, which opened at Artsy.net on June 1, ending July 31, 2023. As one of the fresh artists on the 21st century space of black themes, Orioye's current exhibition assert the artist's growing profile.
Among the works on exhibition is a piece titled Guardian (oil and acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36, dated 2023). The piece captures Orioye's thoughts on Guardian as a protector, defender of the light that watches over the people, even through the darkest of period. The attributes of The Guardian, according to Orioye, include shielding the people from harm, and make them feel secured. "You are the beacon, the guiding star, the one who watches from afar. Your love and care, a constant embrace, A shelter in the storm, a safe place."
The painting, which depicts a lady with long head cover, brings into the creative context the Orioye's style and technique in aesthetics rendition. In sharp contrast to each other, the long head cover in yellow and the lady's face of darkened beauty combine into a depth attraction in art appreciation. Again, Orioye's poetry spice for his art add beauty to his creative enterprise on canvas. "A beacon for reminiscence on what legacy we intend to leave behind for the coming generation regarding our culture as a people. the resources we have what we make of it to create a better living for people living and generations to come."
Other paintings on display include Puppet series, Jewel and Chain I, II &III; Plantation Worker I & II, Guardian, Prom Queen, Teach them Young, Wiyaala, Learn, Unlearn and Relearn Afrika, Beauty in Vogue, and Oju L'oge. In his identity of using poetry texts to explain the context of his paintings, Orioye escalates the Puppet Series with native Yoruba analogy of 'Ta ba ku laa dere (only after death our legacy transcends us). The analogy comes from the people's belief about honouring the dead while giving thanks to those who survived. "So we may live the pain they endured, their sacrifice and act of resilience to survive and the legacy left behind," Orioye said.
Ahead of the Melanated Memoir's opening, Orioye announced that the exhibition is all about observation of important events and true history of the black people across Africa and the diaspora. He also assured that the exhibition will serve "as a need to improve the way we see ourselves."
Constance and Sons described Melanated Memoir as a captivating and thought-provoking showcase of art that explores the rich cultural heritage, lifestyle, and experiences of Black Africans. The gallery noted that with a variety of artistic mediums, the exhibition aims to celebrate and shed light on the multifaceted identities and narratives of Black Africans. The theme further highlights Africans' contributions to the world and their unique perspectives," Constance and Sons said on its gallery statement.
Orioye has exhibited his art, over the years, mostly on several international platform's. Such shows included “Portraits” at Ore Ofe Art Gallery, U.K, and “Florescence” at Mitochondria Gallery, Houston. TX, U.S, among others.