By Tajudeen Sowole
Although Ade Adekola’s salon titled Pret a Installer, held for three days at a private space in Victoria Island, Lagos exposes a photo artist who has the mastery of picture imaging, the photographer has deprived the general public of the education and appreciation value imbedded in art.
A section of Ade Adekola’s salon show
Except Adekola extends the showing of the works from salon into a full art exhibition in a gallery or any other non-restricted space for the general benefit of humanity, the richness and appreciation of his works would be confined within private collections. For a photographer who is rarely exhibited in Nigeria, but makes impressive sales at art auctions in Lagos, Pret a Installer confirms that his work is continually being shielded from wide documentation and appropriation.
If exclusivity has been deliberate and as a choice of line he wanted, Adekola got much of that as guests, amid champagne glass - at the Bishop Oluwole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos venue of the salon - walked through the exhibits after Chief Arthur Mbanefo opened the event.
The salon, which was organised in collaboration with Ruinart Champagne, had on display several large, medium and small sizes of Adekola’s works rendered in multiplism technique. From captures of Lagos metropolitan taken via a bird’s eye on the central business district to the street scenes of hawkers and cultural activities, Adekola’s mastery of imaging in repetitive illusory, creates optical visual effects, even on a flat surface.
Also, he implores mosaic-like form to create a technique that derives its strength from the repetitiveness of images, though in small cubes. This much some of the portraits of unidentified people on the streets exude.
“His art is unique to him,” Mbanefo told the select guests on a Friday evening of the opening. “He might end up as a professor in photography and not architecture.”
In his Artist Statement, Adekola, a trained-architect explains his style and technique: “My work explores themes of repetition and cognitive reflections – perceptions. It also addresses elements of the paradoxical. Repetition enables reinvention by allowing new insights to occur through a cognitive process that promotes: concentration, disambiguation and distinction. The works speak for themselves”
Parts of the texts released by the promoters of the salon states: “Adekola is a sharp observer; conceptual artist, documentary photographer and an architect. He often asks philosophical questions about identity, geography and culture. His work is filled with colours, movement, energy, cultural iconology and coveted humour. Using Lagos as a macrocosm of the universe, he weaved into a complex composition that brings to the frontline the life and culture of Lagos.
“Adekola recognizes the common people on the street, lifts them, identifies them and pull them out of the mass for all to see by telling their individual stories. He put into words and images a very personal portrait of the city of Lagos; those little things ordinary man on the street may pay less attention or details to. These include the cart pusher, the child bride, the scrap merchant, the oil scavenger, the traffic policeman, the sweet vendor and many more. Individually they may go unnoticed, but together they tell a story – a story of Lagos on the one level and the “global metropolis” on another.
He has participated in several exhibitions as a conceptual artist since 1992 and has actively documented life in Lagos through street photography since 2005.”
Adekola has numerous publications to his credit. Some of which include: “2010 Textiles and New Technology” – London (1994) “An Evolutionary Architecture” – Architectural Association (1994) “Repetition and Inflection 11” (2009) and “Icons of a metropolis” – Leidenschaft (2012). In addition, he has published several scholarly articles in both local and international newspapers and magazines.