BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
LIKE the birth of a child, painter Samuel Amurawaiye Ajobiewe recently unveiled himself through his debut solo art exhibition.
Significantly, the show held at Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos, was titled Ajobiewe, the artist’s name.
Ajobiewe is a straitjacket painter who captures familiar situations, thus making his works to be rated among those artists whose works spring little or no surprise.
His non-visible brush movement skills may not be uncommon, but there is something about the dimension that raises curiosity for a solo debut. The skills must have been accumulated unconsciously for decades.
He recalls: “My journey into art started at a tender age, in my primary school when almost every book a child lays his hands on becomes a drawing book.”
Rewards and encouragement started coming so soon for the then young artist-to-be. At primary five in St. Peter’s Anglican Primary School, Ogori, Kogi State, a trainee teacher, he explains, noticed his skill and asked him “to draw various objects for use as teaching resources” for the school. But it was the art patron,Otunba Yemisi Shyllon, whom Ajobioewe says, “motivated him to get a formal education in art.”
HE continued proving his worth at the higher academic level, winning several laurels. “I emerged the Best Graduating National Diploma (ND) student, School Of Arts, Design and Printing (SADP) in 2000 at Yaba College of Technology, (Yabatech), Yaba, Lagos; Best Graduating student, Higher National Diploma, (HND), SADP, 2004, Yabatech; and the Professor Yusuf Grillo Award, 2000”
But he has moved on from that rudiment stage of his career, passing through some “mentors”, whose contributions, he admits, “have impacted his life.” These experiences garnered from senior artists of diverse backgrounds, forms and schools, apparently shaped his skill, which perhaps climaxed at the show. For examples, “Abioudun Olaku tutored me at a time he was moving from figure paintings to land and seascapes and night scenes; Segun Adejumo, positively, influenced my water colour painting skills.”
From group scenes such as Imoran Lagba, Baba Alayeye, seascape, and Window to the World – rendered in pastels – to oil such as Under A Watchful Eye, Aso L’e Wa, Ewa Ni Wa, Commerce and 3 to Tango, 3 To Dance, there is a faint line of preference drawn between his skill in pastel and oil.
WITH a two-man show, Waves of Live at Gold and Green Gallery, Victoria Island, Lagos, in 1995, he had his first outing. He also took part in The Gods of Our Time, a group show of final year students of Yabatech in 2002 at Didi Museum, Victoria Island Lagos. He had another opportunity at a similar show, entitled
New Names, a gathering of 2004 final year students of the same school at Goethe Institut, Lagos.
Nine group shows down the line, including Hellenic Images Greece National Day, 2007, Lagos; Times and Feelings, Mydrim Gallery, 2006; Colours, Moods and Feelings at Truview Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos, 2005; Ajobiewe’s debut solo show was an outing hard earned
In the dynamic art scene of the 21st century, Ajobiewe appears a strong contender to watch out for.