By Tajudeen Sowole
From a gathering of five artists last year, a group exhibition conceptualised for up-and-coming artists makes its second edition with mostly new entrants, suggesting a growing interest in art appreciation outside the regular patronage. Spicing the gathering is a guest artist, George Edozie, whose local and international experience is brought into the exhibition as an artist and co-curator of the show.
New entrants, Stanley Dudu, Seye Morakinyo, Akhile Ehifornia, Afeez Adetunji and Gerald Chiemezie join pioneer artists Yemi Uthman and Darlington Chukwumezie for Fate II, which opened yesterday showing till 19, September 2015, at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos. It’s a gathering to offer a window into what appears like a breed for the future. Edozie, who just had a solo exhibition at Art Basel, courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Miami, U.S brings in his "success" story as one of the "four best shows" at the global event.
The focus of Fate II is for the artists to share and celebrate a common goal of coming together, perhaps by coincidence, under the Alexis Galleries platform, says curator Mrs Patty Chidiac, during a preview few days ago. "Having made a success of Fate last year, she hopes that every year, Alexis Galleries will continue to make the show a yearly event." Tyna Adebowale, Chukwumwzie, Akhile, Raji Mohammed and Uthman showed at the debut edition last year. And quite commendable, the second edition enjoys corporate sponsors from Chocolate Royale, Nigeria Info, Cool FM, Wazobia FM, Cool TV, Wazobia TV, Art Café, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Arra Wines, The Homestores Limited, Litho-Chrome Limited, Avenue Suites Hotel and ISN - Internet Solutions Nigeria Limited.
From the monochrome works of Dudu and Uthman, linear impressionism in portraits by Morakinyo to the rescuing of "lose objects" through the canvas of Chukwumezie as well as optical-effect in Adetunji's roof tops painting, with landscape in Ehiforia's palette of impressionism, and themes of deep family value in the brushings of Chiemezie, the Fate II gathering makes a bold statement. For Edozie, he keeps pushing the shades of characters in African women, so suggests his work Ten Faces of Onioma.
Chukwumwzie explains his recycling materials for art as offering other or extended values for what he describes as "loose objects." The attraction to participate in Fate II, for Morakinyo was based on what he claims as impressive outing of the first edition last year, despite not showing at the event. He discloses his love for impressionism, but in linear technique comes a passion. Adetunji must have earned inclusion into the show through his rising profile in the commercial art space. Chidiac discloses that "we have sold more of Adetunji's works than most artists’." Indeed, the young artist's rooftops, now with "imageries of human" encrypted are delights on canvas.
Uthman and Dudu are though two different artists working separately, the similarity in the tones of their canvas not withstanding, the themes differ sharply. For example, Uthman revisits childhood experience in the work titled Errand, recalling the pranks "children do when sent on errands."
In a foliage, Ehifornia brings relief balm on canvas to clear off city's stress; quite a landscape he captures "through the window of my studio in Ogun State." Simplified in rendition and distinct in theme, come Chiemezie's works that pick family value from the marriage institution through the formative stages of post-wedding, with the ultimate aim of projecting "global peace." He argues that "from good family comes happy children and peaceful world."
Among the young artists of Fate II, Dudu appears the most prominent as regards exhibitions, generally. For Fate II, it's an extension of his love for group exhibitions. "I have not heard a group show for a long time; this is an opportunity."