Saturday, December 24, 2016

Art Connoisseurs, Patrons, and the Sammy Olagbaju legacy

In Nigeria art patronage is still a developing culture. A number of factors of course go to inform the flowering of this culture or the lack of it for that matter. Thus in history of art, art patronage refers to the support and encouragement that was provided to people in the arts such as painters, sculptors, musicians, etc, by kings, popes and wealthy individuals in society. But art appreciation generally is still in its infancy in our clime as it were.

Sammy Olagbaju in a gallery

Friday, June 17, 2016

Jelili Atiku and the struggle in Ejigbo

By Molara Wood
The Netherlands Embassy in Lagos opened its doors to members of the Nigerian arts community recently for a celebration of one of their own, an artist under siege, in an event designed to send a message, that he is not alone. Anyone seeing performance artist Jelili Atiku on Friday, April 8, 2016, would have done a double take. He was resplendent in flowing, sunshine-yellow agbada traditional attire, topped with an abeti-aja (dog-eared) cap.
(L-R) Netherlands Ambassador John Groffen, Jelili Atiku and Fariba Derakhshani of Prince Claus Fund

Friday, January 29, 2016

Uche Okeke, Uli Art Movement and the Legacy of Beautiful Lines

And the legend finally comes to an end; Professor Uche Okeke - the great master and pioneer finally goes home to his maker leaving the ‘sensitive lines’ with us. As the originator of Ulism, the great son of Okeke worked the lines to frenzy as he ‘doodled’ his way right from the formative days in the 1950s, to the lofty heights we behold of him and his rich legacies. It was in the 1950s when as a student in the fine art department of the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology (which later became the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria) that his modernist tendencies shone clearly whiles he experimented with the motifs and philosophies of his native Igbo folklore.

Uche Okeke (1933 - 2015). Photo: Shelley Kusnetz

Friday, December 11, 2015

How to Obtain Healing Through Art

If art is spiritual as well as mental, which I think it is, then it follows that art therapy is real. But the question is how can art heal; what kind of art can deliver healing virtues to the one needing healing? I also want to believe that the mind is a very important tool or channel of healing for the entire human organism. The use of tranquilisers and also, especially placebos, are ways that clearly suggest that the mind affects also the way the body – a physical aspect of the individual reacts to the call to healing, and bodily repair.

Painting by Gani Odutokun

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Herodotus, History of Our Art, and World Civilisation

If only Herodotus, the father of history were alive to hear that the Nigerian government sometime last year deleted as it were, the subject – History from the school curriculum, he would have cried like a baby for the shame and heartbreak this would have brought him. But how can any well meaning society or leadership decide to do that; it simply means you have equally refused to learn from history, and all to your own peril. This is certainly ill advised, except of course there is something they are trying to hide from you and I – how sorry. O Herodotus, will thou still rest in peace at the dawning of this mire and odium oozing from our time and milieu!?
Egypt - Mother of Civilisation

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fine Art: Perception, Seeing and Meaning of Aesthetics

It is true that art is spiritual; it is also true that art is ever present with us. In the words of the late sculptor and art educator, Mr. Sam Majemite: “Look at the whole man-made world, all you see is art.” There cannot be a better truth. In all my years as a practising artist and art writer, I have come to a better understanding of the intrinsic values of (fine) art simply by noticing people’s perception of the world around them. Art embodies all works having to do with human creativity – works wrought by human hands; fine art deals with fineness, and even finesse as a concept; it is about any work requiring specialised skills. But art transcends the physical essence; art is – romancing with the muse.

Leonardo da Vinci

It was the Renaissance man – Leonardo da Vinci who rightly stated that “The eye is the window of the soul”; such amazing thought. It summarises all that art and the artist is about. At this point you would wonder if art is not a branch of philosophy; well, I think it is. Drawing inference from the power of conjecture, and how different people tend to observe differently, seeing and looking become two markedly divergent concepts.

Friday, September 18, 2015

ARTZERO Exhibition: Visual Artists Feast on Thoughts at Alliance Francaise

ARTZERO is an artistic and creative platform for synergistic activities between visual artists and allied stake holders in the creative community. Thus Mr. Ato Arinze and his crew as spearheads of this coming together of creative energies have worked resiliently to keep the fire of this communion alive.

'Sobriety' - Ink on paper by Morgan Nwanguma

And for a period of time spanning 2002 and now, ARTZERO has endeavoured to pull creative forces together in collaborative efforts to foster a cross fertilisation of ideas, thoughts and styles. This vision has also encouraged in no small measure a reawakening in the visual arts, in that artists who many at times wrongly or rightly may be construed as recluses, and ungregarious, are given the opportunity to congregate with a common goal in refreshing atmosphere. 

All in Your Eyes