Tuesday, 18 August 2009

When Ojodu hosted creative muse


RECENTLY, the Lagos art’s community moved out of its ‘exclusive’ Victoria Island to Baryoet Art Gallery, Ojodu, to witness the group show titled Home Grown, which featured Bola Oyetunji, Elder J.I. Akande, Kazeem Olojo and Adedayo Dada.
The event had in attendance the leadership of the Art Galleries Association of Nigeria, (AGAN), art enthusiasts and promoters, who operate outside the Mainland. It was an occasion for Baroyet Gallery to prove that, even in the Lagos sub-urban, there is an art gallery that is equally active as those on the Island. The works on display explain this much. In Olojo’s familiar brushing comes another streetscape, Evening Mood, oil on board. Taking its strenght in the colour choice, the artists downplays sunset in the work. However, the rustic rooftops does not surrender its brownish look to the invading dusk so soon as they retain the tone of the fading sunset. And for the greens, neither sunset nor cloudy rendition makes much difference as the blossom offers a balance. FROM medium to large and miniature sizes, Oyetunji perfects the art of foil. In what she calls, The Mother that Prays, a work that is significant to motherhood, Oyetunji pays tribute to mothers for the troubles they go through, particularly in this hard times. The only metal artist in the show, Dada wants everyone to believe that elegance is the greatest attraction in a lady. In the works, Oleku, Iduro Omoge, and She Dey Pose, the artist, who is another emerging name in the medium, explores many areas as possible to justify his view. OYETUNJI says the ultimate goal of the show is to promote art in Ojodu and its environs. Quite a thoughtful one: art gallery business and appreciation should not be the exclusive affairs of people on the Island. Frank Okonta agrees and assures, “AGAN will always support art galleries anywhere they are established.” TRAINED in Health Records Technology at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Oyetunji’s journey into art started in 1981– as wife of an expatriate — in the tiny, but oil rich South East Asian country, Brunei. “I was in Brunei with my husband for many years, during which I acquired skills in art under the programme organised by my husband’s employers, Shell Petroleum,” she reveals. However, running a gallery of exclusive embossed art, she says, is a challenge, “especially when I import the core materials I used in production as copper foil, for instance, could not be obtained in Nigeria.” Oyetunji does not settle for less, neither has she devise alternatives to avoid the stress of importation, as others, who are into similar art have done. She argues that the gold colour, which copper foil offers when embossed has superior edge over aluminium. Copper foil, she notes, gives designed works the shining and unique beauty that makes them 100 per cent perfect. Her form of art though belongs to the print family, differs slightly because of the embossed look. Whatever she has acquired today — as an artist in printmaking — is not all about the Brunei experience. There is the Nigerian factor as well. On her return to Nigeria in 1982, she met Bruce Onobrakpeya and worked as an artist-in -residence at his Ovuomaroro Studio, Papa Ajao, Mushin, Lagos. With works from other artists and of diverse mediums, Baroyet Gallery is expanding its scope to meet the mission of instituting major art attraction in that locality.

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