Amodu unveils his Peculiar PartsBy Tajudeen Sowole
(First published in November 2008)
ONE of the dynamics of art is the divergent interpretation of contents, sometimes different from the artist's motive.
Painter and prolific writer, Rasheed Amodu's solo art exhibition titled Peculiar Parts, which opens at the National Museum Onikan, Lagos on Saturday November 15, through 20, 2008 is a typical example of a body of work loaded with market of thoughts.
The show, he declared during a preview, is a continuation of his last outing, Beyond the Basics, held last year at the same venue. Linking his work to the Onaism movement, an art form which emerged from the Ife school, the artist professed his strong commitment to use his art in promotion of culture.
A body of drawings, paintings, mixed media and what he called "assemblages", about 15 of the works made available for preview though are rich in the cultural value so professed by Amodu, but beneath this is a kind of roving around a subject as complex as mysticism. He warned that it is uncivilised to pick holes in other people's culture in the process of promoting your own.
With works so grouped in the aforementioned genres, the assemblage consists of socially charged statements like Politicians, Preachers and the Orator, Junk Food, Good Food, Journey Through Time, among others. From his thoughts on the rising trend of fast foods, to what he observed as a thin line between the artistry of a cleric, politician and an orator, each of the works in that group suggests that the exploitative nature of man against his brother is inherent among the characters so focused by the artist.
Landscape-shaped mixed media of objects on board, he called Orator Extraordinaire best illustrated the artist's argument on the ability of man to mentally enslave others. This work with a theatrics presentation portrays bigger objects carrying inscriptions of currencies like the Pound, Dollar and Naira while smaller, some tiny objects are barren of any status.
A small panel of lined up of cutlery in both horizontal and vertical directions with all the dangerous attractions of fat contents foods that have become so fashionable is depicted in the work.
In Beloved Africa, a bolder application of colours in a realm of mystic aura is felt as the continent, placed in the centre of the canvas, receives a ray of light and other conectivities from the moon, left of the canvas with star-like images, motifs of diverse cultural breed, including that of Ifa, among others.
Still on the spiritual realm, Amodu's Journey Through Time would harass one's thought as virtually all objects that touch a man's life on a daily basis form part of this work. Particularly of note is that of wrist watches, conspicuously placed at a crossroad, apparently to alert viewer that life is nothing but like a crossroad.
But for those who wish to remain in the illusion of life as an endless sojourn, perhaps this one he tilted Living My Life soothes such ego. Even at that, the wise ones would notice at the right corner of the canvas that time is watching in the image depiction of sun.
Supporting his claim of no superior culture, particularly in a multi-ethnic nation state like Nigeria, is an acrylic on canvas work, Nigeria-My Country of Many Culture. Also in the same spirit is One Happy Family.
For his immediate constituency – the art profession – the artist expressed what must appears like a bottled-up feeling in the work, Peace Conference. "I want to use this to preach unity among my fellow artists," he said, noting that back-stabbing and blackmail exist in the art profession.