Thursday, 3 May 2018

Back from the 'dead', Osawe's 'Pa Johnson and Gabriel' cartoons for show on canvas


A painting titled 'Generation WhatsApp' by Moses Osawe
Remember the popular Fun Times' cartoon characters 'Pa Johnson & Gabriel' of the glorious Sunday Times era? The artist, Moses Osawe is back from the 'dead' with fresh medium of expression.
 For two weeks, starting from Saturday, May 5, 2018, Osawe will be showing the paintings and drawings inspired by the Pa Johnson and Gabriel characters as a solo art exhibition at Weave and Co Gallery, Moor House Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos. While some of the exhibits still retain the drawing forms, others are rendered in paintings.
 "My aim is to change cartoon's impression from read and laugh to
decorative art", Osawe explains ahead of the show's opening. "When I produce, I look at how aesthetics, decorative and laugh can go together, so you can keep it and laugh over it as a display on your home or office's walls".
  He notes that the works tell everything about Nigerians' sense of humour. Most of paintings and drawings, Osawe discloses, are recent, but "basically there are more new works in acrylic on canvas".
 Osawe's exhibition of Pa Johnson and Gabriel is the fourth show from the New Possibilities series of Weave and Co,  "Just like any other art, cartoons too can be appreciated beyond the jokes, and I feel excited about this," curator at Moor House, Ora Ataguba states. "I remember falling in love with the 'Pa Johnson' character such that I used to cut them out for clips on my wall".
 Beyond the political satire and other issues, "cartoons could be more useful to the society", curator of the exhibition, Moses Ohiomokhare notes.
  Three decades outside Nigeria is quite a long time for an artist who actually vanished with his work from the art scene. And coming straight into the mainstream art market appears like a huge task, isn't it?. "Yes, things have changed from when I left Nigeria," Osawe agrees on the growth of the Nigerian art market. "Before I left Nigeria for U.S, it was difficult to have full time studio artists. But now so many artists are doing well".
 Perhaps the artist's pulling of cartoons from the pages of  newspapers and magazines into the canvas of mainstream art market would create freshness. "I am very positive that there are collectors that would like the works," he assures, based on the fact that "the market is very large". After tha show, he would follow it up with another painting exhibition, he discloses.
  "Since he has been away for a long time, we thought that it is better to link his past to the present", Ohiomokhare explains. "It is not unusual to see cartoons at exhibitions; we need to stimulate collectors' interests in cartoons".
 Arguing that cartoon exhibitions have future in innovation, Ataguba says "we need to play on our strength as a people who make jokes of everything".
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