BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
WHEN Ademorin Aladegbongbe and Michael Fashakin had their joint show, Times of Life, at the School of Art, Design and Printing, SADP Gallery, Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), two weeks ago, vital statement was made on teacher/ student professional relationship.
A lecturer at YABATECH, Aladegbongbe’s one-week outing with Fashakin, a 2008 art graduate of the school, showcased the beauty of their works and how a symbiotic relationship can exist between guardian and ward.
Aladegbongbe’s depiction of drummers and a dancer in Labour of Nation (mixed media) may not be so explicit, however, the dripping effect, which takes off from the heads of the figures and terminates midway of the canvas provides a spiritual link between the images and the theme.
Still on dripping and drumming, The Beat on the Horse (acrylic on canvas), is a thought provoking piece, with no difference between it and rain effects. The beauty of this combination lies in its contents.
Placed against his debut outing, Different Strokes of Policies, held last year at the same venue, this show was a sharp deviation from the former, which focused on government’s lethargic policies.
Greatness, the artist posits, is everyone’s inspiration, “but one must go through some processes to achieve it.” And such progression “depends on time.”
That perhaps leads to his expression in another acrylic piece, Dynamism of Time an abstraction that reminds the viewer of the ticking seconds. More exciting in this piece is the deep blue-sky background.
He advises younger artists to employ basic arts principles and elements so as to “surpass the Masters in the profession.”
FASHAKIN elaborates more on time, its blessing and more importantly, its irony. In oil works such as Trumpet Call, Home Coming to metal foils Time to Dance and Varying Components, the artist’s touch alerts viewers about the other side of time.
In metal foil, he shows that skill hardly changes, irrespective of the medium employed.
While some of the foil efforts are in their actual medium, others are reproduced in prints.
But the artist chooses an alternative option. For the prints, the quality comes better in giclee on canvas. A giclee print of Fish Market (foil) would have brought out the beauty and dimensional effect from the smoked-fish content. However, Eleja Kika (acrylic), comes out better.
Fashakin warns that life, in this context, “is a capacity for growth, functional activity and continual change until death.”
He describes the joint show with his former teacher as an expression of “interdependence; the very essence of times of life.”
For either side of life, destiny, he notes, often takes the credit — sometimes the knocks, too.
WITH over 18 group shows, including a large gathering of art teachers from Yabatech entitled Documenting Eko -1, Okobaba, held last year at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos; a solo, Nation and Her Different Strokes of Policies (2006); designed and sculpted the plaque of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria’s (PMAN) Award for its 21st anniversary in 2007; Aladegbongbe’s experience within and outside the academic environment spans a large expanse worth sharing with an artist who’s just stepping into full time studio practice.
After his debut in a group show at Mydrim Gallery in 1991, he bagged his HND in Fine Art at Yabatech in 1992 and proceeded to the University of Calabar, where he did a Master’s degree in Education Programme.
Visual Arts Society of Nigeria’s Open House: An Exhibition of Contemporary Nigerian Art, ends September 3, 2009 at Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Abuja artisans in the wilderness
BY BRIDGET CHIEDU ONOCHIE
THEY are creative young Nigerians comprising of wood carvers, bead makers of diverse ages and qualities, painters as well as experts in local fabrics. Interestingly, only a few of them had formal training in the arts. The rest either inherited the art from their parents or through apprenticeship.
This group of people came together six years ago with the intention of providing arts and crafts market in the Federal Capital Territory — that will offer products within the reach of their target customer.
However, since they could not afford the cost of shops in the federal capital; they decided to pitch their tent (temporary structures of wood and canopies, which also serve as workshop for some of them) somewhere around Jabi District – about a kilometer from the popular Jabi/Airport Road Junction. Though, the market is by the roadside,there is huge business transactions going on inside.
Housing about 20 stalls, the market is unintentionally shielded from the general public, but the fear of FCT authority, which has demolished their shops on several occasions, has made them to operate in such situation.
The fact remains that like every other group, these people are also contributing their quota to national economic growth with their average sales amounting to millions of naira monthly.
KNOWN as the Nigerian Association of Art Workers, the Chairman of the group, Mr. Alex Adegbeye, disclosed that over 80 per cent of their total sales come from diplomats and tourists. “We thank God because so many diplomats patronise us, some of our black people in Nigeria also patronise us, but you cannot compare their patronage with those of Oyibo people.”
No doubt, things are beginning to look up for them with the graduation discovery of the market by tourists but their joy is often short-lived whenever they remember that the land upon, which they trade has been sold and they fear that the buyer could show up one day and send them packing. As such, provision of an enabling environment is their current greatest challenge.
“We are looking up to the government of FCT for both financial and moral support. We want a larger place nearer to the main town because only few people know of this place,” said the chairman.
Adegbeye also spoke of their moves to join a recognised organisation for artists, which would provide a platform to channel their requests to the government. “We don’t belong to any association, we are just standing on our own but we are in the process of joining a major association, so that, we too can be recognised and be able to channel our course to the government.”
ACCORDING to Emeka Dumnga, a wood carver, providing an art and craft market in the FCT will go a long way to alleviate the plight of artisans, who have been moving from one temporary site to another. He also decried Nigerian’s apathy to artworks, which he described as demoralising.
“Our people don’t value artworks; it takes the diplomat for us to survive here.” Emeka said. “I can make three of this elephant a day and each costs N2,500 while the giant size is about N40,000. All we want is a better place inside the town, where people can know of our existence. There is no cultural market in Abuja and it is affecting us. People don’t know where to find various kinds of artwork. What is the use of carving them when there is no hope of getting customer soon? We can stay a whole week with