Friday, 7 November 2014

The art in science of Life's Trajectory by O'Nali


By Tajudeen Sowole
Debate over creation of the universe or evolution may have been louder in faiths and science, compared to other views, but artist, Promise O'nali introduces visual narratives into the issue.


One of the works by Promise O'Nali
Based on what he claimed as his research on the subject, O'nali, few weeks ago opened an exhibition of his new body of work titled Ije Uwa (Life's Trajectory) at Quintessence Gallery, Parkview, Ikoyi, Lagos. While acknowledging that every belief holds tightly to a notion of "journey of life", irrespective of race or faith, O'nali's message through art appears analytical.  "For this exhibition, I have no leaning on a particular side of the beliefs," he told a select guests ahead of the exhibition.

And to further detached his art analysis on the creation of the universe from being tainted, he disclosed that his race as a black man or national as Nigerian is irrelevant. "I see myself as an artist, not a Nigerian or African artist so that I take all the arguments in proper balance."

Part of his analysis as viewed via the paintings and other mixed media works explain the artist's view of "evolution as forming the state of energy to matter." One of the works titled Gala Dilemma, he explained "is about the earth harnessing oxygen, nitrogen, but in a dilemma situation." While explaining his research, he artist in O'nali gradually gave way to a deeper scientific detailing such that the art exhibition preview suddenly turned into a conference on aeronautics and space exploration. Indeed, the artist's claim that he researched the science of creation, just for the purpose of the body of work seemed like an understatement. He must have been coming from a background in science. "I was actually curious about science long time ago seeing the environmental devastation going at in the Niger Delta," he disclosed.

On another work titled Noon Genesis, O'nali argued that as much as information technology has done so much to change, rapidly too, the way man communicates, -in such a short period over the last two decades - the next age is on "concepts." At this point, his work appeared to be dragging art and aesthetics as vital contents of creativity in the debate over creation or evolution. While faith-based beliefs and scientific theories have fogged the place of art in the creation of the universe, the next age of the contents that would shape the world is aesthetics or design, he stressed. The artist noted that  currently, across the field of science and technology, "aesthetics and designs are pushing the mind's ability to the limits." He cited examples of machines, particularly automobiles, arguing that emphasis is hardly on the functionality. "Design and aesthetics are the major factors that sell cars these days."
 O'nali, according to Moses Ohiomokhare, curator ( Quintessence, had, in 2010 exhibited City of Refuge, a solo show ( CEW Gardens, Port Harcourts, Rives State.

The curator described O'nali's Life's Trajectory as "an inspiration an inspiration from works of the Creator of mankind." He argued that "art was the last act of our Creator" and has been "a great toll of communicating among peoples of the world."

Among group exhibitions of O'Nali are Expositions (2003), Salt of the Earth (2004), Images of Africa,(2004) and Dance of the Lyrical Lines (2005) all in Enugu.

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