LAST Saturday presented another day of honour for the master artist, Prof. Yusuf Grillo, when artists from across the country joined art patron and industrialist, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi to unveil the latest Centre in art documentation, the Yusuf Grillo Pavilion located in Ikorodu, Lagos.
The event started with a lecture by Prof. Babatunde Lawal of the Art History Department, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia, U.S. Titled Behold the Rising Sun: Reflections on Modern and Contemporary Nigerian Art, Lawal’s paper focused on current trends in contemporary art, especially as it concerns art production in Nigeria.
Shortly after the presentation, guests were led into the pavilion to see the works of Grillo and other artists displayed on the ground and top floors of the building.
The event was concluded with discussion on Lawal’s paper. Anchored by Toyin Akinosh, Secretary General of the Art Advocacy group, the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA and Mufu Onifade, founder/director of the ARA Studio, discussants were art patrons Torch Taire, Sammy Olagbaju, J. K. Randle, Yemisi Shyllon, and Bode Emmanuel. Others who joined the celebrant, Grillo on the speakers’ side of the sub-event were Agbo Folarin, Shamusideen Adetoro, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Kunle Filani and Babasehinde Ademuleya.
WHILE preparing for the opening, Gbadamosi a founding member of Visual Art Society of Nigeria, VASON, had explained that his choice of Grillo was to underscore the influence the artist had on him, when he returned to Nigeria in 1966. Grillo, he said, naturally, “appealed to me with his art when I returned home from Europe.”
Among the works of Grillo that set Gbadamosi into the world of art collection was the piece titled Awopa Procession, a depiction of traditional ritual procession.
Gbadamosi said the work reminded him of his early days in Isale Eko, Lagos Island.
“The Awopa Procession fired up my passion; the way the traditionalists filed out — the mystery. Grillo’s painting captured that procession vividly.”
Gbadamosi also recalled another piece of Grillo, a surreal work, Come With Me. He said, “you can write volumes on this work.” He described Grillo as a “captivating and enigmatic artist.”
Born in 1934, Grillo was among the pioneer Fine Art students of the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria.
An aspect of the property housing the Yusuf Grillo Pavillion