Saturday, 6 December 2014

With Pastiche, artists expand scope of art appreciation

By Tajudeen Sowole
 When Fidel Oyiogu, Ronke Aina-Scott, Monsuru Alashe and Ademola Adeshina converge for a common goal of sharing their art with the public, the artists face two tasks: appreciation of art in non-art gallery space and justifying the diversity of the group in a single space.

Indeed, the title of the group show, Pastiche reflects a conscious effort to prove diversity as art enthusiasts and collectors visit Moorehouse Hotel, Ikoyi Lagos from Friday, December 12 to 20, 2014 to see works that are mostly rendered in paintings across the various known art movements.   

Bringing artists with diverse contents together is indeed, the beauty and strength of gatherings such as this just as taking art to similar space, away from the regular art gallery setting has been constant experiments by professionals in the business of art appreciation.

Fidel Oyiogu’s The Return, showing at he group show Pastiche
In most of such gatherings, inadequacy of space or non-availability of dates at regular art galleries push artists to alternative space such as hotel lobby and poolside. But for the Pastiche artists and the promoters of the exhibition, the choice of a non-regular art gallery venue like the Moorehouse has nothing to do with inadequacy of art gallery exhibition space; it's a deliberate attempt to expand the scope of art. Tayo Ajimoko, curator and creative director at Zapha Rield Ltd, promoters of Pastiche notes that art has wider prospect to blossom beyond its current confinement. He explains that the core objective of Zapha Rield "is a commitment to supporting and promoting authentic African art, designs, ideas and discuss on a different trajectory from the usual." For Pastiche, Ajimokan is not entirely leaving out tradition as the show "is in conjunction with Weave & Co Gallery."

It's a familiar terrain for the curator and one of the exhibiting artists, Oyiogu; middle of this year, the Moorehouse showed his solo, titled Illusion of Reality, courtesy of Zapha Rield. Earlier, Ajimoko has shown watercolourist, Lekan Onabanjo's works at the same venue. "We believe quite strongly at Zapha Rield that African art in general, and indeed Nigerian art are the next frontier, a beacon attracting the klieg lights of the world," the curator argues few days ago.

For the Pastiche gathering, Oyiogu continues his new period of mixed media as the texture of his canvas thickens in works such as The Return and Wise Couple. Aina-Scott who revived her studio career last year with a solo exhibition Colours On My Mind at Mydrim Gallery has another opportunity to show that being in the corporate branding business for a greater part of her post-training sojourn has not been a minus.

The group exhibition goes further into the realm of rarity as young artists Alashe and Adeshina get a chance to experience showing with big artists. Alashe comes into the gathering with the experience of wining the 2013 edition of Life in My City Art Festival in the category of graphics/textile. He also won a and consolation prize of the same competition in 2014 as well as 3rd prize of Lagos Photos Amateur Competition.

Indeed the challenge of sustaining art appreciation outside the regular art gallery space, within the context of the current rise in Nigerian art rests on the shoulders of curators and managers of art. This much, Ajimoko appears to be well conscious of as he displays works of artists from two generations. "The works are taken from different sources, a hodgepodge and quite simplistically a piecrust. I believe Pastiche is a fitting title for the exhibition because it bring together four artists from different generations and era, with different styles and experience while the universality of their art is evident in the works on display."
From Ajimoko's curatorial statement comes a brief on the artists' works:  Aina-Scott's subjects are diversified, but mostly inspired by the African woman in society. She has stayed true to her muse in the motifs employed in creating the mosaics in the current exhibition.

 Oyiogu at once a conductor and puppeteer carefully guiding the viewer to arrive at a personal interpretation of the composition while offering road maps in form of superposition and superimposition of shapes and textures.

Alashe is an experimentalist who uses wool, woven materials and photography. His work addresses everyday situation and topical issues that strike at the heart of societal norms and ills.

A self-taught artist,  Adeshina presents a large range of paintings which can be interrogated in several ways.
As a textile designer, he has been experimenting on pointillism with the application of African motifs.

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