Sunday 17 December 2023

Five years after, 'Visual Arts Trajectories of Kolade Oshinowo At 70' unveiled

During the unveiling of Visual Arts Trajectories of Kolade Oshinowo At 70 compendium.

AFTER artist, Kolade Oshinowo, celebrated his 70th birthday five years ago with quite a number of sub-events, the documentation part did not end with the celebration. Few days ago, specifically Wednesday, December 13, 2023, a compendium, which iconised the 70th celebration of Oshinowo, in scholarly context, was presented to the general public.

The book titled Visual Arts Trajectories of Kolade Oshinowo At 70 was launched at Yusuf Grillo Auditorium, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. Ahead of the launch, Dr Kunle Adeyemi, Project Coordinator, Kolade Oshinowo Art Trajectories, recalled that over five years ago, the planning committee was focused to produce a great compendium in honour of the celebrant.

Oshinowo turned 75 years old in February, 2023. But efforts to ensure that the book sees the light of the day continued by the committee. "I am happy to inform you that this compendium on Kolade Oshinowo by several scholars, authors, artists, admirers and patrons seeks to provide a window of insight into the life and work of a man that has positively, consistently and immensely influenced a generation of visual artists and other art stakeholders in Nigeria and beyond," Dr Adeyemi stated. "With excellent reputation, poise and focus, the Ikorodu, Lagos State-born Kolade Oshinowo has endeared to himself a cult of following that propelled the elements of his identity as a worthy brand in the Nigerian arts landscape."

During the launch, it was an electrifying moment as Oshinowo's friends, colleagues and admirers converged to celebrate an artist popularly referred to as 'trainer of masters'. And when the artist's citation was read by Dr Akinwole Olugbemiga, the dramatic trajectory of Oshinowo became more interesting. From the eloquence of the reader, Dr Olugbemiga, HOD Languages, Mass Communication Department, Yaba College of Technology, Oshinowo was exposed as an artist that destiny made, many years ahead of his career.

After the lead launcher, Chief Ajibola Aribisala, SAN, unveiled the book with a pledge of buying 10 copies with highly impressive amount of money, more admirers of Oshinowo flooded the space to purchase the books for "undisclosed" unveiling prices. Though a book launch, the event was carnival-like, and spiced with an exhibition of drawings on Oshinowo, by diverse artists, and mounted inside the SADP Gallery.

As a compendium, Visual Arts Trajectories of Kolade Oshinowo At 70, was edited by Dr Adeyemi and Olusola Ogunfuwa. The publication emerged from a 2018 conference in honour of Oshinowo when he turned 70 years. Published by Inspirationz Prints, the book's contents contributors include Prof Rom Kalilu of Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso; Prof Chuu Krydz Ikwuemesi of the University of Nigeria, Nzukka; and Prof Philip Gushem as well as Prof Jerry Buhari of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Also, included among the contributors are artist and art academic, Dr Kunle Filani; art patron, Engr. Yemisi Shyllon; master printmaker, Dr Bruce Onobrakpeya; Baale of Ogbogbo, Ogun State, Abimbola Ademola Banjoko; and independent art writer, Tajudeen Sowole. 

While thanking the  committee for ensuring that the book saw the light of the day, Oshinowo recalled how he was determined to succeed as an art student. He noted the lure to travel abroad for studies was a reality, but “I was determined to stay in Nigeria." 

Going to university in Zaria, he disclosed, "was like war", but he ensured that he returned with a reward worth celebrating. Oshinowo had advice for the youths: "Yes, there’s something in every profession, just make sure you do it right,” Oshinowo reassured. 

As art teacher and administrator at Yabatech, Lagos, Oshinowo contributed largely to the development of the institution’s School of Art, Design and Printing (SADP). When the Oshinowo retired at 60 in 2008, he showed strictly drawings exhibition titled Memories at Yusuf Grillo Gallery, SADP.

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  1. This write up on Kolade Oshinowo Art trajectories is mature, comprehensive and insightful. Thank you so very much Tajudeen Sowole.