By Tajudeen Sowole
Man's pride in science and technological advancement, which has been widely accepted as meeting nearly all human challenges across generations, has come under the scrutiny of Olumide Onadipe in a body of artistic works titled Twist and Twirl, held recently at Pan-Atlantic University, Victoria Island, Lagos.
|‘Maps and Identity’ by Olumide Onadipe.|
For diverse reasons, some sociologists and their social critics cousins are hardly excited by scientific discoveries and ‘advancement’ that negate natural approach and traditional values in solving challenges of the world. Onadipe appears to have sympathy for purists who question man's synthetic sojourn. This much he explains in some soft sculptural pieces of abstraction that also confirm the existence of Nsukka, precisely, El Anatsui kind of movement.
Based in Lagos, Onadipe, is perhaps, among the youngest of exhibiting artists in the city, who graduated from University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in the past two and half decades, and whose mould of sculpture follows the emerging, but quiet 'Anatsui movement'. A few weeks ago, a lecturer and former student of the same university, Eva Obodo showed a body of work - in near similar sculptural mould - titled Line by Line at Renault Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
One of Onadipe's works, ‘Maps of Identities’ appears like a miniaturised piece straight from Anatsui's cloth series just as it also falls within the shadow of another student of the Ghanaian-born master, Nnenna Okore's pieces at her last show, Akaraka in Lagos last year. However, Onadipe, in quite a number of other works, attempts to shift away from the spread shape or mentality of most artists who follow the Anatsui's school of contemporary sculpture. For example, in ‘Pure and Simulated-I’ as well as ‘Torso,’ Onadipe brings in columned moulds that add a tone of difference to what he could, in the future, highlight as a form of identity, and a slight departure from the crowding Nsukka styles.
More importantly, Onadipe's texture of moulding, incubated on the strength of the environmental theme of the show, speaks profoundly - despite viewing the works in soft copy images. In non-spread Nsukka tradition pieces such as ‘Earth,’ ‘Rupture’ and ‘One is All,’ the artist’s application of melted polythene or plastic bags takes a viewer right into the subject.
The speed at which science is changing the world amazes him, and prompts him to say, "How human inventions has practically reduced the world to a size of a mall and how it arouses a sense of borderless communality; information and images are transmitted in spaces within splits of a second; and how it affect human lives". These are some of highlights that inspire the body of work. He notes that as much as science has provided comfort on man's fingertips, the concern is the prize to pay.
"As these broadens the scope of life and makes life more fascinating and interesting, majority of people become comfortable living a simulated life than living their own lives,” he added.
As a window through which to see art, either as e medium for alarmist or a philosophy, Oadipe's Twist and Twirl offers a reflective period for man to take futuristic perspective into the complacency or arrogance of advancement. The artist stressed how the exhibition "explores the relationship between gravitational energies and how it affects the human planet."
He examines components such as water, sound, stars, mountains, birds and other animals as translation of human experience "responsible for discoveries and inventions: a nucleus of modern civilization, technology and development."
|‘Rupture’ by Onadipe|
In art, perhaps, conceptualising is not as challenging as appropriating, particularly in contemporary context of using materials. But Onadipe gives insight into how he arrives at the different moulds of works to communicate his thoughts. "To incarnate my ideas, I explored and repurposed a variety of everyday processed materials like plastic bags, jute bags, wood, glass and metal, incorporating organic and inorganic forms and this allegorically connotes a contemporary societal preference of artificial life and objects over natural world. Though I work as a painter, experimenting with these medium heightens sculptural forms, contours, textures, lines and shapes in my works."
Born on 24 October 1982 in Lagos, Onadipe had in 2012 at University of Lagos, Akoka, bagged a Masters degree in Visual Arts (Arts Education) (Grade: 3.50); 2008, B.Ed/BA in Fine and Applied Art (Grade: Second Class Upper), UNN; and in 2004 at Federal College of Education, (Tech.), Akoka, NCE, Fine and Applied Art (Grade: Upper Credit).
His exhibitions include a solo A Tale Within, Pan Atlantic University, Victoria Island Lagos (2013); group shows such as Colours of Hope, organized by Children Living with Cancer Foundation (CLWCF) at Civic Centre, Lagos (2014); Orezie 2 (The King’s Crowd)” Ime Obi(Obi’s Palace), Onitsha; 2013 Heritage Rising” by Heritage Bank, Abuja; 2013 “American Nigeria Cultural Collaborative Project” at the US Consulate; 2013 “October Rain” Nike Art Gallery, Lagos; 2013 “Illumination” Nimbus Art Gallery, Lagos; and 2013 “Beyond Boundaries” Nubuke Foundation, Accra, Ghana.