By Tajudeen Sowole
Out of wastes generated from graphic art studio,
Adeyinka Akingbade creates mixed media of textured pieces that are sometimes pretentious reliefs in surface. Populated with slight design contents and mostly rendered in portraiture themes, Akingbade’s eclectic body of work, interestingly, is the artist's debut solo art exhibition.
Inside Temple Muse, Victoria Island, Lagos where the works are currently on display and titled Perforated Perspective, the blurring line between art and design is, subconsciously stressed by the artist's creative mien that shares loyalty between the two genres. The works reflect what one could describe as the artist's search for a specific direction in which his art or identity is headed.
Prior to the exhibition, Akingbade had shown photography and painting at different times. For Perforated Perspective, neither of the two previous directions actually reflects as the works, though quite incendiary, redirect one's tracking of the artist. "No photography," Akingbade responds to a question about departure from his last shows. In 2011, he had shown a salon titled My Space at African Artists Foundation (AAF), which came two years after his participation in a group show Independence and the Ambivalence of Promise at Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Lagos.
Just seven years in post-training career is, perhaps, too early to take a specific direction, so it appears while viewing the works mounted among luxury fashion and home-ware designs.
Quite a number of stages, including "learning mono-prints from Dr. Kunle Adeyemi," have led him to the current state of his work, he discloses.
In mono-prints and perforated rubber on a flat surface, Adeyinka pulls portraiture from the traditional space into contemporary circle, so suggest works such as a nostalgic one in two piece ‘Iya Ni Wura’ (Golden Mother) and ‘Baba Ni Jigi’ (Silver Father), works, he says are "inspired by my parents' encouragement given me to take art as a profession."
Spot rendition in pieces of cubes brings another twin work in ‘The Making of a King.’ It's a philosophical thought of the artist about the journey through thick and thin to achieve success. Again, the artist sees a part of him in the work, disclosing that ascendancy patterns aspect of the piece, as it explains much about the period of success in every struggle. His love for the subject of persistence and endurance as well as the aesthetic content of the piece is such that he personally has a special preference for the work.
In fact, "I don't feel like letting go of the work," he says. "My work is a true reflection of my life and the people around me. My work tells stories inspired from my experiences since childhood. I believe everyone has a responsibility to keep developing. I believe life is tough. My art helps me find a soft and perfect landing."
Curator of Perforated Perspectives, Sandra Mbanefo-Obiago whose view of the entire works is woven around the artist's perforation technique notes that Akingbade brings freshness into the Nigerian art space of recycling materials.
As she put it, "Akingbade's stark, simple silhouettes off-set against highly textured white and dark backgrounds portray a fresh and unusual take on ‘recycling & art.’ His world of design overlaps seamlessly with his classical training in painting as his skillful and fascinating use of paper, glue, acrylic, is combined with found objects such as the colorful straps of cheap roadside rubber slippers, which lend a playful attitude, emotion, and personality to his portraits."
Akingbade is an award-winning painter, photographer, and graphic designer who graduated in Fine Arts, specializing in Painting, from Yaba College of Technology, Lagos in 2008. The same year Akingbade’s eclectic and versatile style drew the attention of the AAF ’s Unbreakable Nigerian Spirit art competition in which he emerged as one of the finalists. In 2010 he was selected to take part in the month long CCA Lagos artist residency program, Independence and the Ambivalence of Promise, and the following year he won first prize at the Lagos Black Heritage Festival's Walls of Prison into Fields of Freedom art competition.
Akingbade’s experimental photography and mixed media works were featured in the German magazine Borriolaghah-Gha and in 2014 he exhibited at the 25th Annual Festival of the Arts in Chicago, USA. While working as a studio artist on weekends, Akingbade runs a graphic design consultancy, GNO Studios, and his clients include DDB, Proactive Media, Wimbiz, TruContact, W-Tech, and African Art Spectrum.