BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
AS the beauty of the canvas lies on colour projection; painter, Sam Ebohon, holds nothing back in his rendition of the rainbow. While preparing for a solo art exhibition in August, Ebohon is eagerly looking forward to feeling the pulse of the public on what he declares as “new face of my art.”
Inside his studio, in Isolo, Lagos, some of the works show a slight difference from collection in his last solo outing entitled Shades of Value, 2008. For example, Job Seekers and Princess appeared subtler in tone, compared to the human image depictions in works such as I Fine, Saharian Bride and Brain Storm Herald of Royalty, in his last outing.
“I can’t be static; I keep researching. It’s still within my identity to remain unique, not much of change, except the softness,” he explains.
GROUP exhibition projects often tend to add or subtract from an artist’s rating, but Ebohon has found like minds in the Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (GFA). “It’s the right group to belong for any full time studio artist, who wants to be counted among the best in Nigeria,” he boasts.
Perhaps serving at executive level in the guild’s inauguration and induction committee, last year has blessed Ebohon with some privileges to contribute to growth of the collective of new and aspiring Nigerian visual art masters. But at the just concluded election that ushered in the new executive, his name was missing from the list of candidates. He explains that it was necessary for him to “step down for another competent member; Kehinde Sanwo, the new secretary.”
EBOHON’s emergence as the winner of the global art competition, Caterina de’ Medici Painting Award, Italy, in 2009, he says, “confirmed that GFA is the guild of masters.” About 150 artists across the world participated in the competition themed Florence and its Province in the Eyes of the World, with Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka being on the panel of judges.
A streetscape titled Midnight on Viaguelfa – which earned him the prize – draws one’s attention to Ebohon’s cubist form.
The glory did not come without pains, as he recalls almost losing interest in the event because of lack of sponsors back home.
Ebohon’s sacrifice, however, is the nation’s gain – beyond the laurel — as the representatives of Caterina de’ Medici Painting Award in Nigeria had secured the hosting of the 2010 edition.
The competition has been included as part of the Lagos Black Heritage Festival holding in Badagry, but the irony of this development is that the corporate support is not forthcoming. This confirms the criticisms that Nigeria’s corporate sector always wait for a breakthrough in a project before coming in to tap from its harvest, rather than being part of the dream from the beginning.
THOUGH he is satisfied with the credit of inducing the hosting right, one expects the sponsor of the event, a leading telecommunication company (name withheld) to recognise Ebohon in the Lagos event tagged Lagos, The City Of A Thousand Masks, which holds in April. So far, nothing in that direction: “I don’t know if the organisers and sponsors are recognising my status as the last winner; I’m yet to hear from them,” he says.
Graduated in 1990 at Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), Yaba, Lagos, specializing in Painting; Ebohon in the same year, received the Academy Press Award for Excellence in Painting.
ArtHouse Contemporary’s first art auction of the year opens with preview on Saturday, February 27 and Sunday 28 at The Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, while the auction holds on Monday, March 1.