By Tajudeen Sowole
One year after Chinedu Ogakwu made his debut entry onto the Lagos art landscape, the Port Harcourt-based artist has found collaboration with a colleague, John Urherigho Onobrakpeya. Together, the two artists, last week, displayed the diversity in creative enterprise of the canvas.
While Onobrakpeya brought onto the joint space, a subtle rendition in mostly abstract impressionism, Ogakwu extended his textured canvas technique as the collaboration produced Beyond Limitation, shown at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos. With works that blend modernist and contemporary contents, the artists are, perhaps, suggesting that art terms that draw a line between periods are merely active as vocabularies, and such expressions should not confine an artist.
With a painting he titles Creation, Onobrakpeya takes viewers through celestial realm by applying his palette of impressionism to peep into the world that, perhaps, existed when there was nothing. Whatever relativity that his concept of Creation suggests, the aesthetics of the painting is in separating of the canvas into two, generating shades and hues of colours. In such quality, perhaps lies the value of the beauty that exists in the painting.
Remember the scene in Michael Jackson's rock-like Dirty Diana video track from the late legend's 'Bad' album? Yes, that's what Onobrakpeya's Black Model, a silhouette rendition of back-lit female figures, which appears like a lift from Jackson's video. For those whose definition of woman virtue is celebrating 'figure 8', Onobrakpeya's Black Model is yours to savour.
Increasingly, contemporaneity is collapsing traditional lines between genres nd medium, so suggests relief piece on canvas technique of Ogakwu. From his Illimite solo exhibition, last year, held at the same gallery, the artist continues to dazzle Lagos art scene, expanding his cracked texture technique in the joint show.
For Beyond Limitation, one of the works titled Illusion, a gathering of wobbled faces in mask styles take one's memory back to ancient art. And as nude male figures has become common themes for the artist, he brings them in diverse moods.
In one of the cracked canvas pieces titled Revolution, Ogakwu goes mystic in the composite of a nude man lying on his back on a what looks like the globe. Adding to the spiritual texture of the scene is a ray of light from an anonymous source.
"My work consists of using bark of wood to create the basis of the pieces," Ogakwu explained in his artist's statement. "It's like a trance thus allows me to bring diverse sources from my background, culture and life experiences. By transforming the bark of wood in my work, they are given new relevancy."
Excerpts from Onobrakpeya's bio: He has exhibited extensively and received so many Awards in Nigeria and Abroad. His works can be found in Galleries, Hotels, Homes and Offices in Nigeria and Abroad. He is known for creative Water fountain and swimming pools. He is into Landscaping.
Excerpts from Ogakwu's bio; Illimit, solo exhibition at Terra Kulture, 2015; A Step Forward, LandMark Hotel Port Harcourt 2014; Contemporary Art . Bricklane Gallery, London 2014; Music of Colours, Total Village Port Harcourt .2012; and Dak'Art Biennale, Dakar, Senegal! 2010, 2012 and 2014.