By Tajudeen Sowole
After his canvas has been populated with figural forms for more than two decades, painter Fidel Oyiogu, steps into a new period of what might be his statement on abstract impressionism.
Also, the artist’s new period in styles and forms – combined with some of his well-known strokes - converge in for socio-analysis of the world’s problem and arrive at a verdict of shadow chasing.
At Moorehouse Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, Oyiogu just showed his new forms in the exhibition titled Illusion of Reality, stressing the importance of drastic changes sweeping across the modern and contemporary Nigerian art space.
|One of Fidel Oyiogu's works|
Traditional and modern rendition of art, of which Oyiogu belongs, is actually facing the challenge of the rising voices of contemporary expression and appropriation.
Oyiogu's elongated and stylised figures, spiced with bright, in-your-face kind of colours, has been his identity over the past one decade or more. Despite the fact that quite a number of artists' canvases have imbibed the styles that was made popular by late modernist and Nigerian master, Ben Enwonwu, Oyiogu's figures still exude distinct characteristics. Some of his works on display at his just held show still have the identity, no doubt. But the real strength of the exhibition lies in the artist's new forms.
Abstract expressionism in semi-minimalistic rendition as well as quite a number of depictions in masks, explain what could just be the new period of Oyiogu.
“Art is changing face,” Oyiogu responds to a question about the new techniques and styles noticed in some of his works. “I cannot afford to remain static.”
On the central focus of the show, his attempt to use two contrasting words "illusion" and "reality" in a thematic language appears confusing. But during the formal opening of the exhibition at the poolside of Moorhouse Oyiogu explains his thoughts. He tells his guests how some people of “the world” are self-caged in “the illusion that they cannot solve their problem.” He argues that “most times, individuals believe negatively or have incorrect ideas and distortions when something seems to be different from the way it really is.”
Oyiiogu notes that, in every given situation, the reality comes to prevail after resources of huge cost would have been wasted. “In total manifestation of the actual thing that happens or the truth that took place is the reality itself, it’s not an imagination or a thought,” he tells guests like a pastor addressing an attentive faithful.
The promoter, Tayo Ajimoko whose Zapha Rield Ltd in conjunction with Weave & Co Gallery jointly present the exhibition notes that Oyiogu's 25 years experience in art was not just of numbers, but rich in contents. For example Ajimoko cites the artist's style and identity coined oyiogunic as "renowned."
For followers of the artist, recall his last exhibition titled Woman Forms and Desires held at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, two years ago, which had the self-proclaimed Oyiogonic loud. Then, he insisted that his was not another movement fashioned after the ism trend. But he did not dismiss a future followership. “My own style and technique may, in the future, has followers that could make it as popular as others given to us by the west.”
Two tears after, the canvas of Oyiogu adds another style.
But for Illusion of Reality, Ajimoko says there comes a new dimension of the artist's works, which he links to "a continuation of his highly successful last solo exhibition."
Shortly after the chairman of the event and Finance & Control Director, Nestle Nigeria Mr. Martin Kruegel lead the opening with the support of a prominent collector Mr. Sammy Olagbaju, Weave and Co Gallery, which overlooks the poolside of Moorehouse formally opens for business..
Ajimoko states that Weave and Co “is a melting pot and one-stop shop of curated art, crafts, sculptors, interior décor and Afrocentric couture by established and emerging Nigerian artists and designers.”
On the interest of Zapha Rield Ltd in art appreciation, Ajimoko assures that "it is committed to supporting and promoting authentic African art, designs, ideas and discuss on a different trajectory from the usual.”
Oyiogu’s bio describes him as painter/sculptor. His figurative compositions of forms are well detailed and carefully placed.
Since 1986 he has exhibited regularly, both group and solo shows. He has visited Germany, Austria, France and other parts of Europe on a regular basis for a number of years till date. He has won several awards. He obtained his HND from Institute of Management and Technology Enugu 1985.