Thursday, 29 March 2012

Sweet Art … A gender statement on canvass


BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE

THE painter Biodun Omolayo is interested in art appreciation. Through this avenue, he hopes to equip women with art skills.
  Known as Sweet Art, the programme, though not new, is gaining grounds among a lot of women.
  Aimed at honing the skills of ladies, especially those involved in creative works, the programme, no doubts would boost art appreciation jåudging from the way his ‘students’ have embraced it.
  Omolayo argues, “getting people involved in art, particularly the lighter aspect of it, and in a relaxed, non-formal setting boosts art appreciation.”
   Some of the works at the Biodunomolayo Gallery, National Museum, Onikan, Lagos, stress the enthusiasm expressed on canvas by the participants.
   Stating that the gains of this initiative have begun to manifest, he explains: “One of the students, currently in the US called me to express her gratitude. She narrated how art has made her an idol in a little community of her host country.”
  He notes that though the basic concept was aimed at empowering women in creative skill, the art appreciation value, which the ladies would bring onto the art landscape, is worth investing time and energy. “It’s not just Biodunomolayo that benefits from this, but the entire art community of today and future generations,” he enthuses.
 Despite its informal setting, Omolayo is instilling the regular disciplines of artists in his students.
Biodun Omolayo (left) showing one of his students the rudiment of painting
   For some of the participants, catching up with the technicalities in moving paintbrush and applying colours appear very rapid. One of them, the wife of an expatriate, in such a short period of time is already rendering a self-portrait.
   As a full time studio artist and art gallery owner, Omolayo, over the years has designed quite a number of programmes that boost art appreciation. These include Celebrity Art Shows / Lead Art programme to honour art collectors.
    He describes the Celebrity Art show as, “a special way to say ‘Thank you’ to the esteemed are collectors apart from expanding the market as a whole.”
  The show is organised to celebrate birthday, marriage anniversaries and other special days of notable collectors. In some cases, the celebrants are given opportunities to paint on canvas.
  Personalities featured in past shows include Mrs. Hilda Dei Sotinwa, on her 60th birthday; Insurance broker and Vice Chairman / CEO of Insurance Brokers of Nigeria (IBN), Mr. Prosper Okpue; one of Nigeria’s leading collectors, Engr. Yemisi Shyllon.   On those occasions that Okupe and Shyllon were involved in what went on the one-day painter’s event organised separately were fun and instructive. For Okupe at 60, it was painting the Story of My Life, and also explains the image to the delight of her guests.
  Omolayo argues that the work of Okupe, though has kindergarten look, can be taken as a unique style and loaded with meaning. It was indeed an expression of self and creativity."
    And when any of the events was that of age-group like the Art workshop for children, Omolayo would infuse the celebrity or adult art factor. For example, during the last Young @ Art Free Children Day Workshop, there was an interactive session with art patron, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi and Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele (a.k.a Jenifa). Both celebrities painted on canvas to the delight of the children.

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