Work that won the first prize at Benin Zone by Osamagbe Aiwekhoe
BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
IF you are still wondering how child art influenced one of the most celebrated artists, Pablo Picasso, a five-month-long art competition and show, which ended recently in Lagos, gives a clue.
Held at the Nike Art Centre, Lekki, visitors to the show, entitled Mirror the Master, mostly adults, had opportunity to share Picasso’s thought process.
Among the visitors were two regulars: Rasheed Gbadamosi and Sammy Olagbaju; Osogbo artist, Jimoh Buraimoh; and Jerry Buhari, art teacher at Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria.
A collaborative initiative between the United Kingdom-based outfit, Kambani Arts, and Access Bank, the project began in October in four cities -- Osogbo, Benin, Zaria and Nsukka.
TOP three works from the zones: Oladigbo Oladiran, 16, Babatunde Folasayo, 13, Tola Akinriola, 13 (Osogbo); Osamagbe Aiwekhoe, 16, Augustina Obi, 15, and Deinma Imabibo 9 (Benin); John Cross Omeke, 13, Oluchuku Okorie, 11, and Ifeanyi Agbo, 13 (Nsukka); Abdulhamid Aminu, 15, Abdulakim Alkasaim, 13, and Ibrahim Isa, 15 (Zaria) were on display.
Gbadamosi, a member of jury, noted that the works “are surprisingly marvelous to believe that these are from children” in the said age group.
It was a keen contest, as it took the panelists a tough time to pick Omeke as winner.
Young Omeke, according to the organizers, will visit some exclusive art galleries in London and participate in an accompanied viewing to see the works of Enwonwu and U.K-based portrait painter, Chinwe Roy.
The enthusiasm shown by these young artists indicated that there would not be a dearth of masters in the future.
At the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre, Benin zone where participants set up mini canvases of about 20 by15 inches, each, student’s work gave an insight into “inspiration drawn from the master.”
For Omeke, the confidence noticed in his painting of a mask, using acrylic on canvas, absolutely vanished, when he was announced as winner. From his smooth touch to the fragile draughtsmanship displayed in the painting, young Omeke’s work has confirmed the novelty that attracts adults in child art.
According to organisers, the thrust of the project is to help develop African art by celebrating established masters through talent and aspirations of younger and future artists.
Buraimoh said that the initiative was similar to “our early days when I joined Mbari Mbayo at a one week workshop organized by Uli Beier, which was conducted by Georgina Beier.”
Head, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Access Bank, Omobolanle Babatunde, noted that despite the enviable achievement of such masters as Enwonwu, Akinola Lasekan, Gani Odutokun, among others, “Nigerian art remains a victim of poor transfer of knowledge,” hence it was imperative to have Mirror the Master as a “modest step towards filling the gap.”
A documentary of the initiative would be produced to enhance Fine Art as a viable discipline and career for students as well as promote the legacy of the chosen master, Enwonwu, Ezeilo assured.