Friday, 11 November 2011

IN LAGOS, ANGLOPHONE MEETS FRANCOPHONE


Again, Camerounian promoter converges African artists in Lagos
 BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
Nigerian, Olu Amoda's metal work, Sun Flower
 WHEN Gondwana, a Cameroon-based art promoter, through her fourth art show titled Gondwana brought different artists from Nigeria and three Francophone countries in Africa together, it became certain that the cultural divide existing between the Anglo-Francophone countries would in the near future collapse.


   The 2011 edition of the yearly show, which held at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos, and featured 20 Nigerian and about 25 artists from Cameroun, Gabon, Republic of Benin, Chad and Democratic Republic of Congo made a stop in Lagos from France en route Douala. 

   The promoter, Catherine Pittet insists that the series is designed to promote Africa’s art and culture. She explains that her choice of the name Gondwana is very significant to this mission. “It’s a time climes and peoples unite in Africa. Under the theme The Last Pictures Show I have been offering African artists what they lack: visibility and recognition.” 


 In works of some of the regular participants such as Alex Nwokolo, Duke Asidere, George Edozie, Bob Nosa Nwagboe, Babalola Lawson, Ayoola Gbolahan, Joshua Nmesirionye and Wallace Ejoh (Nigeria), Aissatou Kadry, Elolongue Weti, Etiene Etogo, Jahpet Miabotar (Cameroon), Valentine Agossou Senabou (Republic of Benin) and Azar Kash (Congo) there was a faint line between their past offerings and the present. In fact, it appeared that some of these regular artists prefer to stick to the familiar forms and techniques, avoiding a possible plunge into the slippery character of collectors.

   However, new entrants, Olu Amoda, Ben Osaghae, Tobenna Okwuosa, Lucky Isiah and few others added a fresh breath to Camerounian, Catherine’s  The Last Pictures Show 2011. For Amoda, it’s a metallic referring of plants, he calls Sunflower I & II.

  These two works, which appear like a twin-piece of full / miniaturized and strategically positioned at the immediate entrance of Terra Kulture gallery blurs the line between metal and painting.

  And younger painter, Isiah, takes a bolder step, through a monochrome style in his realism paintings. Largely of outdoor, perhaps, the artist’s strongest rendition of the common sceneries is his non-pretentious skill about the contrast in lighting; dark human figures against brighter ground or any other things.
Douala-based artist Elolongue Weti's painting

  Within the familiar touch of Miobotar, Asidere, there are still a faint of freshness. This much, Asidere’s Proceeds, House-scapes as well as Camerounian Weti radiated.

  STILL tilting to the populist end, Gerald Chukwuma’s panelised wood also takes a bolder leap into the louder touch of colours. Almost a contrast to his past subtle works, which include Victory Dance and Where We Live, it was loaded with paintings in crowded images. Comparatively, Three Wise Men, is a bridge between this louder expressiveness and previous works.

  Much earlier before the show opened, Edozie whose works have been part of all the series here, notes that the shows have been more of an interactive one as Nigerian and Francophone artists are more exposed to cultural contents of others.

  Still experimenting with different shows on the Lagos art market,  Catherine recently tried solo series. She started with Uwagboe at MGallery (former Sofitel Hotel), Ikoyi, Lagos. She also showed Asidere as the second artist to feature in the management’s plan of one-artist-a month art show.

 In 1989, Gondwana entered the art and design promotion industry with La Petite Boutique in Bonapriso, Doaula. Catherine’s dream, she stated, was to ensure that artists promote exchanges in unifying Africans at home and in the Diaspora.


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