Saturday, 8 August 2009

The future wears Spirit of New Osogbo Art

FROM July 9 to 19, Rahmon Olugunna will be showing 32 works of oil on canvas in both medium and large formats.
With Spirit of New Osogbo Art as theme, the works, which will be on display at Harmattan Gallery, Victoria Island, show ‘a synthesisation’ of Osogbo art school’s dynamics and the diverse larger art landscape.
The works are daring, showing the confidence of the artist, as the paintings go beyond evoking the spirit of an institution; abstraction, giving another meaning to figuration with colours that are too consistent to be linked to spontaneity.
Olugunna, who spoke at a recent preview, said he could have been a performing artiste, but had to change, when he discovered art was truly his calling.
And really, he must have been fortunate to be taught by one of the masters of African art, Rufus Ogundele, who, however, passed on three years after his enrolment. Olugunna later continued his training under Jimmy Okunduye.
According to him, “I come from a family of drummers, my uncle, Rabiu Ayando, worked with Uli Beier as bata drummer, and I am fascinated by Rufus Ogundele’s work.”
The artist, however, set out with the counsel of notable artists such as Muraina Oyelami and Okunduye.
One of the pieces of advice that he says has helped him more, “is being myself.”
This is perhaps what has made his work to be like a window to the next generation of Osogbo master; bold outline swimming in daring colours with images from folkloric tales of animal kingdom and traditional divinity.
In Olugunna’s skillful paintings are features that both mature viewers and the young audiences will find appealing.
The Manchester City Council, UK, once invited him as a guest art teacher to the city to teach the youths art, especially on Osogbo and Yoruba Art.

ALTHOUGH, Olugunna has taken part in several group shows in Lagos with his works admired by many, opportunity to have a solo emerged when Ufuoma Fafunwa, promoter of Moyo Ogundipe’s Kaleidoscope of Life met him.
“He is a natural artist who just does his thing, no confinement,” Fafunwa states, when she stumbled on Olugunna’s work at Lekki art market.
And for the hosting gallery, “there is no going back on discovering, exhibiting young and very talented artists,” stated the manager, Mudiare Onobrakpeya.
According to Onobrakpeya, Olagunna’s works are in the permanent collections of the Richard Singletary Gallery, in Portsmouth; Chike Obianwu and Torch Taire in Nigeria, among others.
Recently, he was on tour of the UK for almost 24 months for exhibition.

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