By Tajudeen Sowole
Afeez Adetunji, David Olatunde Taiwo, Joseph Bidemi, Samuel Olayombo, Aina Felix and Raji Ade David are among the first set of artists to open the art space of Lagos, as commercial activities return this year.
In a group show titled, Fate VII, showing from February 13 to 20, 2021 at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos, the artists will be returning to a familiar space and theme. In November 2014, Alexis Galleries showed the Fate debut edition that featured works by Tyna Adebowale, Darlington Chukwumezie, Henry Akhile, Raji Mohammed and Yemi Uthman.
The most featured artist in the Fate series, Adetunji, who debuted in the second edition in 2015, brings into Fate VII, panel and mixed media paintings titled, Couples, Togetherness and Two Sisters, among others.
An artist, who uses bold outlines to spice heavily stylised figurative paintings, Adeniji releases louder texture in the piece, Couple. With acrylic, cans, zinc, rope on paneled wood, he creates a two-image superimposition that highlights the value of oneness being generated by two souls, in love.
“I have realised how responsible a man should be,” Adetunji shared his marital experience, which he explained, influenced has generated the painting’s concept after “getting married in 2017.”
For Two Sisters, the artist’s ‘personal experience’, specifically with his sisters inspired the piece.
Showing in the yearly Fate exhibition for the third time, Taiwo brings his thoughts on two memorable situations of last year’s pandemic lockdown and EndSars Protest into his visual narrative in the panel art expressions.
For example, in No Cross, No Crown, the artist’s panel painting is filled with motifs and signs while facial human expression seems to capture the results of the protests. He argued that the EndSars protests were a struggle represented by pain, then, but the gains are already showing. He noted, “there is hardly police brutality now,” after the protests.
Menace of unemployment seems to be similar in Nigeria and South Africa reveals Taiwo’s In the Ghetto. It’s about his experience during a visit to Cape Town, where he saw typical Lagos type of ghetto scene: “Youths and middle age persons that should be at work but seen smoking and drinking alcohol.”
In the Ghetto could be linked to the contents of another artist’s work, titled, The Choices We Make. It’s all about a game of life-based on the choices people make, resulting in either of the dualities of life.
From Felix comes non-panel paintings, such as the Cocktail series and Faith as the artist captures people’s resilience in the face of increasing economic challenges orchestrated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A partying lady, displaying her glass filled with wine, proudly, as depicted in the artist’s elongated figures, represents a common window in which some Nigerians ventilate their depressions of the moment.
Felix noted that despite the situations in the country, people still find the time “for merrymaking.”
And the diversity of the exhibition is further emphasized in the abstract piece, Stellar Population, by Joseph.
Flow of bold and loud red over a mix of dark and bright background on Joseph’s canvas reveals illusion despite the obvious abstraction concept of the painting.
If colours are pivotal to the world of art appreciation, Ade David has more than enough to display on the menu list of collectors, so suggests his painting titled, Sisi Eko. In texturised canvas of fabrics and ‘overdose’ of all the primary colours with their hues available, the painting celebrates the Eko for show metaphor of Lagos.
Supported by Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, Haier Thermocool, The Guardian, Cobranet, UPS, Aina Blankson Attorneys, Cool FM, Wazobia TV, Lost In Lagos Magazine, Arzeh Integrated Ltd, Delta Airlines, Aina Blankson, The Homestores and Art Café, the exhibition is consistent with Alexis’ focus in adding values to the creation and appreciation of art, a curatorial input from co-curator Bimpe Owoyemi explained.
As a gallery, Alexis seemed to have developed a constant interest in art on panels, sharing parts of the artists’ passion. But also encouraging passion is the response from the art appreciating public. Collectors, according to Owoyemi, find panels ‘appealing’. The energy in which the gallery promotes the artist, she disclosed, comes “from the collectors and residency too.”
In February last year, Tiwo David, Taiwo Owoyemi Sola, Usman Semiu Alvin, Kalu Isaiah, Darlington Chukwuemezie and Akeem Dada showed at the Fate VI exhibition at Alexis Galleries.