By Tajudeen Sowole
In a three-mission adventure on canvas, the art landscape of Paris ceedes a spot to the richness of Lagos-based artist, Duke Asidere's first major solo exhibition in France. Asidere's Paris show collapses the essence of art appreciation in simple summary of the emotion attached to a piece of art, the medium and the choice of style.
Titled Mood Colour Harmony, the exhibition, which opens from May 9, ending 22, 2016 at Maison Muller section of Splendens Factory, Paris, extends the artist's passion for feminine subjects. For nearly two decades, Asidere has used his palette knife in piercing through the good and not too pleasant social fabrics of women, perhaps, using his canvas as a window to view the softer gender's
With simplified figural forms - uniquely Asidere's - that art connoisseurs and other enthusiasts in Nigeria have celebrated over the decades, it would be of interest to see how Asidere proves the resilience of visual language across cultures and spaces. A seated two female composite he tittles Women Talk extends Asidere's poetic application of colours in hues, yet generating deep tones that create 3D illusion. Almost in contrast is Stranse Day, a remorseful capture in divert shades of blues, adding to the artist's skill in explaning moods.
Having established his art as a formidable signature over the past two decades, perhaps, exposing himself to a wider dialogue comes with the propeler to explore new space. "It's about getting fresh assessment of one's work in a new environment," says Asidere during a chate few days ago. "I like the challenge of expanding my scope to new space outside the regular and get new audience."
The theme of the exhibition, he explains, truly summarises what his work represents. Mood Colour Harmony "basically," he discloses, are the factors that drive his art of "simplicity." How simple has his art been, really? "Just get into my studio and pour out whatever is happening around me."
Living in a city as active as Lagos where freedom of expression is unrestricted across social stratas, women are naurally, sometimes, become a focus, Asidere sees what others don't notice. "For me, I look at colours in women," he declares. "I need colours to drive the extraneous."
As crucial as getting an assessment of his work, the women theme, perhaps at this period of his art should have a terminal point, isn't it? "Every artist is drawn, spiritually, to a theme." For Asidere, women themes have spirituality attachment. "I find women very engaging."
For the curator, Bose Fagbeni, the artist as a choice blends with her taste and that of the gallery "I choose Duke because of his style of painting. He has a unique way of painting that is consistent and one can easily recongnise Duke either in his drawings or paintings."
About the title of the show, Fagbemi who is an independent curator notes that Asidere's application of colors has a synergy with "moods and emotions."
With 17 paintings, heading for the walls at Splendens, Asidere's Moods Colours Harmony is the gallery's first experience in showing an artist from Africa. Fagbemi assures that "I have seen what they (Splendens) do, and the gallery immediately loved Duke's paintings. So we decieded to collaborate."
A growing interest in African art or art from africa also brings an opportunity for expansion. And with barriers of communication being dismantled across cultures, the Paris exhibition seems to have come at the right time for Asidere. "In a fast changing world, where information hits you with the speed of light, we are compelled to stretch our power of imagination," his artist stament says.
Extracts from his bio: Asidere is one of Nigerias most celebrated contemporary artists with a keen following internationally and in his native Nigeria. He was born in 1961 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree with first class honours in Fine Arts (painting) from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1988 and a Masters of Fine Arts in painting in 1996 from the same university. He taught painting, drawing and art history at the Federal Auchi Polytechnic for five years before starting full time studio work Lagos.