By Tajudeen Sowole
Environmental degredation of Lagos coastal areas takes the attention of painter, Chika Idu's palette, suggesting that domestic activities are as culpable as unregulated industrial factors as well as poor management of wastes.
|Task by Chika Idu|
Idu's paintings on canvas, which capture polluted waters are on display as The Other World, a solo art exhibition showing from today and ending 30, May 2015, at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos. If Idu thought that Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola's 'Eko o Ni Baje' slogan of prosperous Lagos has, in eight years, imparted positively on the attitude of the people, the artist was wrong; an alternative transportation by ferry gave a different picture.
From paintings that capture suspected unauthorised sand dreadgings, to defecating by rural dwellers on water along the coastal areas as well as polluted surface of waters with sea of non-biodegradeable plastic and nylon, Lagos coastal line apparently, is a huge contrast to Fashola's 'Eko O Ni Baje', at least from Idu's painterly perspective.
Sponsored by Litho-Chrome, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Cool TV, Wa Zo Bia TV, Cool FM, Nig Info Lagos, Wa Zo Bia FM, Arra Wines The Avenue Suites, Nova Internet Solutions, Chocolate Royal, The Homestores Art Café and Alexis Galleries, Idu's The Other World also offers a window into the double edge sword of government policy, particularly how implementation and enforcement suffers in an electioneering periods. However, The Under World is not political or an affront in challenging government's policy, rather it complements it. "My work is more of an environmental awareness campaign," the painter who resides in Ikorodu, a satelite town off the coast of Lagos and Victoria Islands explains to select guests during a preview. "It shows different view of Lagos in the areas of sand digging from the water and pollution of the surface by used plastics and nylons."
Some of the works include children and young adult themes rendered in impasto texture impressionism. Apart from using the exhibition to display his skill in underwater painting, some of the works stress the health hazards of a poorly managed environment. For example, Water Everywhere depicts children scooping 'cleaner water' from a dirty surface. "From the same water in which the people take bath, defecate and do all sorts of washings, they still get water for cooking and drinking," the artist alleges.
The complexity of regulating or improving the living conditions of inhabitants across coastlines into the overall environment management policy of Lagos state is a recurring issue. Perhaps, it takes those who are close to the people who build their houses on stilts to understand the challenges of lack of understanding between government and the inhabitants. Idu, who once had his studio at Makoko, a popular coastline settlement for fishermen, sand diggers and plank workers, recalls the cultural factor that keeps the people perpetually living on the water. "When I used to have my studio at Makoko, I found out that the people are naturally stuck to the place." He notes "the people's claims that living on the water is ancestral heritage."
Co-curator at Alexis, Patty Chidiac says Idu has "a vibrant style" that is "not easy to copy" by other artists. He has been on the radar of the gllery since three years, she discloses.
A member of Defactori studio Idu is currently teaching art at the French international School Lagos
Some of Idu’s selected shows include The Light 1996 at Bishop Vinine Lagos; Discovery 2002, Muson Centre Lagos; Fusion 2003 Nimbus Gallery Lagos; Ndinnta 2003 Maison De France Lagos; solo such as Our Experience 2004 National Musium Lagos; Timeless 2014 at Tera Kulture Gallery Lagos; and Intro, Quintessence Gallery Lagos.