Saturday 24 February 2024

From bronze casting ancestry, Omodamwen's Beyond Mimesis, brings fresh sculpture

'Trance' (bronze, H60, W24 D60cm, dated 2023), by Kelly Omodamwen.

OVER six years after sculptor, Kelly Omodamwen synergised spark plugs and art, he is exhibiting the importance of history through his contemporary style, technique and theme, built on the background of Benin bronze ancestry.

Omodamwen's solo art exhibition titled Beyond Mimesis, opening from February 24-March 3, 2024, at Signature Beyond Art Gallery, 107, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, tells his story of an embodiment of rich visual thoughts. The artist noted that voice of every creative person depends largely on  their technique and choice of medium. Among such factors that define artist include expression and the proper use of both enable the audience connect with the unspoken words of an artist,  Omodamwen said in his Artist Statement. "Beyond mimesis is an embodiment of deep, unspoken thoughts and innate expression of emotion through body language."

In 2017, Omodamwen discovered spark plugs as a medium in sculpture, which has gained him audience after his documentary with BBC Pidgin in 2020. The artist's style of art has evolved over the years, moving from Benin art forms to contemporary one and also to welded sculptures, which include the repoussé and upcycling of waste materials into functional and aesthetic arts. Signature Beyond Gallery said it was delighted in showing Omodamwen's works, describing his art as exquisite sculptures. 

According to the preview, Mimesis affords the artist to express his creative thoughts in artistic way within the context  of Pluto and Aristotle’s views to represent nature rather than copying it. "Omodamwen broke loose from imitative stereotypes that dominates the famous traditional Benin bronze casting practice both in concept, thematic and technomorphical approaches in materials usage," the gallery explained.

 Omodamwen's art are sculptures created purposively and intelligently with the sole aim of satisfying viewers' perceptual appetite. However, it requires little or no special requirements to appreciate the  perceptual skills of the artist. Such contents in Omodamwen's art include the texture, patina, subtle graduation of surface tones, linear qualities of the contours, silhouettes and decorative patterns of the direct finger prints on wax that enliven the surfaces of his sculptures.

With slimmed forms and sizes, Omodamwen's works for the Beyond Mimesis exhibition include Rythm II, 91 x 28 x 27cm, dated 2022;  9 lives, 40 x 15.5 X D68 cm, 2022; Soul Mate, 73 x  24 x 21.5cm; 2023; Trance 60 x 24 x 60cm, 2023; Freedom, 103 x 22.5 x  20.5cm, 2022; among other pieces that highlight socio-economic themes woven around creativity.

 "Omodamwen has unique stylistic trend with unified thematic direction," parts of the preview note disclosed. "The arrays of his works nonetheless chart a common path in appealing to the human conscience through material exploration, philosophical admonition and promotion of cultural creative values."

Excerpts from the preview; "In recent times, there’s a deathly downward slide in sculpture appreciate. This declination is overtly due to the degenerative decline of public perception, acceptance and favour to sculpture. Forces of hard political and religious fanaticism towards sculpture cannot also go unnoticed.Art and artists through the ages are known to play different and important roles in contributing to the overall health development, and wellbeing of society."

After decades of dedicating himself to studio practice, gathering and merging experience from both informal and formal experience, Omodamwen has carved a niche for himself seen in some his body of works over time through his expression of anatomical study and usage of materials. Omodamwen ’s works are culturally influenced and inspired by his environment. 

Omodamwen b. 1993, he hails from the Oredo Local Government Area of Benin City, Edo State. He began his sculpting journey as a kid in his bronze caster grandfather’s studio, in Benin. He had his secondary education at Baptist High School in 2010, and proceeded to the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi where he obtained his National Diploma in general art and industrial design, 2015, and a Higher National Diploma with a distinction in sculpture, 2018. He also received the rector’s award (Certificate of Excellence) for best graduating student in 2018.

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