By Tajudeen Sowole
Art took non-commercial venture on the lawn of a private residence in Ikoyi, Lagos Island, few days ago courtesy of Ovie Brume Foundation.
The event, which was in form of s salon presentation and titled The Genesis could have passed for an A-grade regular art exhibition. On display were works of Abraham Uyovbisere, Ebenezer Akinola, Bimbo Adenugha, George Edozie, Gerald Chukwuma, Joahua Nmesirionye, Kunle Adegborioye, Osagie Rafael Aimufia, Segun Aiyesan and Wallace Ejoh.
Artists like realism painters, Uyovbisere, Akinola and Adenugba in one exhibition, are perhaps, an uncommon combination, in recent times. With Horsemen At Dawn, Reflection IV and The Eye III, Uyovbisere's brush strokes keep confIrming the resilience of realism style painting, scross ages.
And in a monochrome, Reflection III, the artist's faintly flavour of impressionistic rendition is boosted with deep application of contrast lighting.
Akinola's canvas is not much about the depth of classic of which he is known for, but his style of toning, which perhaps, is unique to him in Nigerian art space. Mostly captured in portraitures, his works for The Genesis gathering include Wanderers, Baba Ijesha, Guy and The Guard.
In Landscape and streetsccape, Eden, Enterprise, Vegetable Section and Somewhere in Lafiaji, Adenugba stresses the importance of light in creating great depth. In fact, the artist's consistence emphasis on light, as confirm in this show, is a signature blossoming through contemponeity.
In his mastery of simplified forms of figural rendition, Edozie brings into The Genesis gathering Mrs and Mrs II, Onyema and Makua and Sugar Girls at Olosi. Still, in simplified style, the artist suggests that everyone has a view about Lagos, in a sea of buildings titled. Eko Si Kwalu Ike.
The only sculptural forms of the exhibition come from Chukwuma, an artist whose signature is in canvas of wood panels. However, painting still wins the space as Covered, Metamorphosis and The Chord blend sculptural texture with painterly tone.
Unpretentiously impressionistic in style, paintings by Nmesirionye such as Adorned, Green Seduction and Lost In The Crowd add to the diversity of textures at the exhibition. Three portraitures and one streetscape suggest that the artist ventilates more in eclectic renditions.
Four pieces, Children of Paradise I and II, The Mood I and II, in bold collage tell the stories of the richness of African cultures across the continent. With different pictures in cut outs collage and paintings, in graphic technique, Adegborioye lend visual narratives to native African cultural values.
The canvas as a tool in research, particularly in expressions or human behaviourial patterns attracts the attention of Aimufia. Curiously, his work in this context include ‘selfie-paintings’ titled Me and My Emotions and Fits of Passion II.
Master of aging and texturised canvas, Aiyesan ironically, excarvates beauty from the depth of his roughened painting surface. For example, an elongated neck feature of female portraiture Morenike’s beauty would melt a heart of stone.
Capturing women in the beauty room with impressionistic palette as Ejoh does in Friends and The Bride and Friends peeps into valuable time that ladies throw into the art of looking 'good'. His style and techniques in forms and lighting are perhaps what stand him out from the crowd of impressionists.
For the artists, The Genesis, offered a double: sharing the value of creativity and charity. Coordinator of the exhibition, Uyovbisere discloses that "40 per cent" from the proceeds goes into charity in support of the Brume Foundation.
In the catalogue of the exhibition, founder of Brume Foundation, Evelyn Oputu explains how art is an integral part of human development. "While art is sometimes relegated to a secondary role in human development, it is important in a number of ways, " Oputu, a former Managing Director at Bank of Industry (BOI) notes. "Every culture develops some form of art, which gives identity and purpose to its inhabitants through mutually understood symbols and serves as a means by which values and attitudes are passed down from one generation to the next."
From such perspective, Oputu appeared to have taken Brume Foundation along the art journey. "The arts have always been an integral part of our activities at the Foundation, and in addition to holding weekly fine art classes for budding artists the Ovie Brume Youth Centre." The foundation, she adds, has "funded fine art scholarship at three leading art schools across the country."
The crust of the charity show, she seems to be stressing, is "to support the artistic process in order to encourage the current generation and develop the next generation of Nigerian artists."
Named after Oviehire Adeyemi Kesiena Brume (July 21, 1973 – December 11, 2002), Brume Foundation’s mission statement include to: support and promote institutions that serve as catalysts for the accelerating development of the nation by helping to realise the vision for a Nigerian society.
Listed among priorities are: encouraging Nigerian youths to develop themselves and support in their self development and societal endeavours; Promising young Nigerian adults who are principled and demonstrate creativity initiative and an aptitude for hard work, are groomed for leadership and supported and encouraged to reach higher levels of achievements; Entrepreneurs are provided with access to resources to facilitate the establishment of organizations that create value in the business environment; and, all who seek to improve themselves and society are given access to available information that aid accomplishing their goals.