BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
AFTER a decade of involvement in pastel shows, practically helping to bring back the medium to the Nigerian art space, Sinmidele Ogunsanya is set to cast her net on drawing skills.
Courtesy of her Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos, 22 artists are coming together in a group show titled Nothing But The Truth, which holds from May 18 to June 1.
She says there is a drop in the drawing ability of artists and that the walls of the gallery, which during preparation for the show were filled with figural and pronounced images free of abstract themes, clearly send the message on the mission of the artists and the gallery.
As a way of lending support to the effort, Kolade Oshinowo’s Funke, a portrait of a lady, rendered in the artist’s peculiar painting style, welcomes viewers to the gallery.
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It appears that Abiodun Olaku had some time with microscope-like imaging, so suggests a sea of people captured from an aerial view and moving towards a sun set in the horizon. Aptly titled, In God We Trust, the earth colour-dominated piece brings spiritual flavour to the artist’s landscape theme.
In Bared And Bearded, Ebong Ekwere, again, stresses that, indeed, he is one of the most gifted sculptors in the art of thumping: bald-head and bush of beard portrait of an unidentified man makes the objects in the painting-dominated show less intimidated. Similar skill is implored in his Dancer, a ballet dance depiction made in glass fibre.
It’s an opportunity for the young Olumide Oresegun to rub shoulders with the masters, as he presents Strong Beans Girl, showing his near invisible brush movement and photo-finish painting skill.
Some of the artists include Bunmi Babatunde, Reuben Ugbine, Abraham Uyovbisere, Patrick Agose, Segun Adejumo, Wallace Ejoh, Umoh Akanimoh, Stanley Dudu, Samuel Ajobiewe, Mufu Apo Oyin, Ebenezer Akinola, Jonathan Jefferson, Abass Kelani, Peju Alatishe, Bede Umeh and Joshua Nmesirionye.
WHILE lamenting the gradual deprivation that the art loving public has faced in the recent years as a result of the dearth of ‘drawing skill of the masters of old’, Ogunsanya argues that those artists who are not good draughtsman, ironically, are getting more attention hiding under abstracts.
“I don’t have anything against abstract, but artists should have good drawing skill. The skill in drawing and painting makes the masters of old ever great, even though some of them are dead.”
Jefferson, who claims that he is one of the beneficiaries of the Mydrim’s yearly pastel shows, says, “drawing is like the skeleton in a body; without it, there is no art, whether it’s abstract or other themes.”
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He recalls, “my passion for drawing led to my emphasis on figures in my last show, though I’m known as a landscape artist.”
For Umeh, his fear is that abstract art has given opportunity to all sorts of people to be called artists. He notes, “it’s worrisome that these people are being patronised.”
Really, what exactly is wrong if a collector finds a work attractive and buys it, whether or not, the work lacks basic drawing skills?
Umeh agrees that people have the right to the choice of whatever they want to buy. However, the delight for artists who are grounded in the basics of art, he says, “is that more collectors are becoming conscious of what to buy.”
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Ogunsanya assures that as the interest in reviving draughtsmanship increases in Nothing But The Truth, we will try our best to see that we have a show that emphasises drawing; at least once a year.”
And the concept, she says, may settle for Nothing But The Truth as a central theme if it becomes a yearly event.