Monday 27 May 2024

Adeyemo's 'Breath of Novelty' for batik art

'Celebration' (Screen printing on brocade, 127 x 457 cm, dated 2023) by Hakeem B. Adeyemo. PIC: C/o the artist.

WITH his solo art exhibition titled Breath of Novelty, shown from to May 8-15, 2024, at the Department of Industrial Design,School of Art, Design and Printing.Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Hakeem Adeyemo has added another texture to batik art. 

In over 20 works on display, Adeyemo's thoughts on creating multicolour texture for batik art provided choices such as bold, loud as well as conservative colours. Contributing alternative opinions to the exhibition in critique and discourse, Adeyemo's colleagues provided contents that captured the artist's thoughts. 

 In his Artist Statement, Adeyemo explained that the exhibition's goal, basically, focused on adding as many colours as possible to batik art to disconnect from the mentality of monochrome stigmatisation. "Most textile artists find it difficult to work with more than three to four colours in batik technique. Consequently, the artist explores the use of multicolours in the production of batik works on display; thus, it will inspire students, graduates and professional fabric esigners in the field, exposing them to the diverse possibilities that multicolour application techniques on batik affords," he stated.

"The abstract works on display are reflections with philosophical interpretations. Majorly, the concepts are to create medium for "VISUAL PLEASURE AND MEDITATION". Breath of Novelty: in this context is to inspire creative discovery of a unique knowledge or artistic expression with innovation."

In the Foreword to the exhibition catalogue, Dr  Irokanulo, Ikemefula Emmanuel captured Adeyemo's sense of abstraction. "His abstract linear lines have the propensity to draw one into a theoretical discourse like the current literary works of Nicolas Davey on the unfinished world and the dialectic of art and the whole as an approach to rethink the theory or philosophical of a constant, inconclusive discourse between part and whole in a critical dialogue, meaning there are constant irresolvable meaning and understanding between art as an interpretation of the disclosure world, or the material tangibility of the earth as they create meaning within one consciousness and largely defines our perceptual reality," Ikemefula, Chief lecturer in drawing, painting and aesthetic theories, wrote. 

"His images invite discourse within the concern, in his thought, perhaps  Hakeem seems to infers to aesthetic contemplation no longer attends to changeless  forms but participates in the movement of a work’s constitutive elements. Aesthetic contemplation in the thought of Adeyemo or perhaps what the images seems to infers is that it is no longer passive but an active participant (theoros) in the bringing forth what a work can disclose."

Dr. Odun Orimolade noted that Adeyemo's body of work for in the exhibition creates a riveting exploration of textile art, with a particular emphasis on the inventive use of batik methods as a vehicle for image creation.  In her Discourse themed 'Hakeem Adeyemo’s progressive Batik Oeuvre in Breath of Novelty', Orimolade explained that the artist creative expressions encourage spectators to enter a realm where traditional craftsmanship meets contemporary vision, resulting in a body of work that is both visually appealing and thematically rich. 

Excepts from Orimolade's critique: "At the heart of Adeyemo's artistic work is a great love for the tradition of batik, a wax-resist dyeing method used for centuries in numerous cultures alongside Nigeria. Drawing on this rich history, Adeyemo skillfully blends intricate patterns and brilliant colors to create narratives that address issues ranging from cultural identity to environmental concerns.

 "Adeyemo's work is distinguished by his ability to push the boundaries of what is typically thought to be feasible in the field of batik. He revitalizes this centuries-old craft by experimenting with various wax-resist procedures, layering techniques, and unorthodox materials, revealing its ongoing relevance in this contemporary time."

 Taking a critical look into the Nigerian textile industry, Etim Ekpenyong Mfon distinguished Adeyemo's fabric art from the crowd of regular designers. He cited quite some examples to support his claims.  "These pieces are composed of patterns rendered in the nonrepresentational sphere describing how the wind of positive change sweeps through a nation that was once weighed down by corruption and ethnic rivalries; and replacing it with integrity, peaceful coexistence and economic sustainability," Mfon of the Department of Fine Art, School of Art Design and Printing Technology, Yaba College of Technology stated. 

"The colours are harmonious; and the technique engaged in creating this piece is called screen printing. With the aid of a mesh, the alternative cassava starch based printing paste was applied on the fabric to create the diamond repeated pattern on the fabric. Taking a look at these design and their colour combination, one would heartily agree that their creator have a vast understanding of colour combinations. It is often said that Colour knowledge is a vital ool in the art of fabric beautification, and Hakeem Adeyemo is not called a master in this art for nothing. The fabric in plate 3 with the warm cherry red patterns that rests on a subtle pink background is altogether attractive and captivating. Likewise, the fabric on plate 4 is same as that of plate 3 save for the colour scheme: the orange sweetness of this piece against its bleached background exude an irresistible charm that attracts one to it with a desire to be robed in such a fabulous fabric design."

Hakeem Bolaji Adeyemo was born in December 1966 on Lagos Island, Lagos State, Nigeria. He hails from Oyo State, Nigeria. He attended Baptist Academy, Yaba, Lagos, for his secondary education and pursued a National Diploma (ND) in Fine Art at the Polytechnic of Ibadan, Oyo State. He furthered his education at Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos, earning a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Textile Design. Adeyemo obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) from Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos, and pursued a Master of Fine Arts Degree (MFA) in Textile Design at the University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State. He also holds a PhD in Textile Design from the Faculty of Environmental Science, Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Benin. 

Adeyemo has actively participated in numerous art exhibitions, facilitated workshops, and attended conferences and seminars both locally and internationally. He has received several awards in recognition of his contributions to the field. He serves as a resource person for various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and tertiary institutions, conducting research to advance the textile design profession. He is a member of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA).

Since 1998, Adeyemo has been a dedicated academic staff member of the School of Art, Design, and Printing Technology at Yaba College of Technology. Presently, he serves as the Head of the Department of Industrial Design within the School.

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