Sunday, 1 November 2009

Ogwo’s Fourth Edition pleads

IF the painter Emenike Ogwo had his way, he would have some measure of what he calls “balancing the structure” to protect the masses in the on-going exercise of urban renewal in major cities of the country.

This, he explained, at his just concluded show, Fourth Edition, held at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.
From the aerial views of the sprawling and rusty rooftops of Ibadan to the slums of Lagos, Ogwo’s palette captured some of the nation’s environmental headaches.
In Togetherness, Market Place, Rusty Roof, Obedience, Makoko, Fishermen, Ijaw Settlement, among others, Ogwo’s focuses on the habitation of the lower class of people in the society.
Representing this thought more is Togetherness (oil on canvas), which is an aerial view of the slum settlement of Ibadan.
Compartmentalising the canvas into shades of scenery such as hilltop, slumming sandwiched by uncoordinated greenery and a horizon blended into the skyline, the work, he argues, “simply tells us that nature wants us to be together.”
Slum, he agrees, may not be an ideal thing to be proud of anymore, but “without these multitude in Oshodi, Ajegule, most parts of Ibadan and other highly density urban areas, life is incomplete.”
According to the artist, urban renewal should be carried out with consideration for the people, mostly low-income earners that are being affected by the exercise.
Considering the change in our environment, he says, “the role of art is crucial, because visual art has the strength to give the graphical pictures of the situation, either for documentation or other purposes.”
He argues that painting remains one of the most active medium “in documentation of Oshodi of old, for example.”
But he jokingly regretted that, for artists, “there is no more action at Oshodi.”

THE summary of Ogwo’s sojourns in Fourth Edition, particularly his dream for the affected people is alive in The Journey of Life II, a sailing ship.
“It’s like a journey of life, you do your best and allow fate to take to a destination as the ship here is being led by wind of fate,” he explains.
Shortly before the opening, the artist had explained that everybody enjoys a story or a picture because it’s exciting “in one way or the other and if it is well told using the fewest and the best words, it is a work of art. But it is not a work of art if it is badly expressed.”
Explaining his philosophy, the artist believes that a picture is a work of art if it makes you think what artist hoped you would think. It means that the lines and patches of colour forming the picture must be of unmistakable meaning giving you one idea only.

LAST YEAR, Ogwo returned from a U.K. tour on the show, Cultures in Colors, which was first held eight years ago at the National Museum, Onikan Lagos Island.
The event was sponsored by a U.K. based group, The School Partnership Trust, and three external partners in that country –– Leeds PCT, Lead Trinity & All Saints and West Yorkshire Learning Skills Council.
He graduated from the Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Edo State, in 1994 and was an instructor at the Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering, Makurdi, Benue State during his NYSC.

Samuel Ajobiewe Amurawaiye makes his debut solo show at Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos Island on Friday, November 6, ending 20, 2009.

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