Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Priceless Artwork That is Beyond Insurance

Mona Lisa unlike most people would think is not actually an imaginary title of a piece of art work. Rather, this painting (1503-7), executed by the greatest artist and creative mind so far modern history has known, arguably, – the Italian Renaissance master, Leonardo da Vinci, and measuring 77cmx53cm, is the portrait of the wife of a local Italian peasant.

Mona Lisa

Today this painting also arguably, is the most important singular piece of artwork available today, both in terms of value, as well as popularity, and bearing in mind that it is after all not a very large scale job per se. The Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the history of art and continues to inspire oil painting reproductions, parody, scientific theory, and more. According to the Guinness Book of world Records, Mona Lisa was assessed for insurance purposes at $100 million in 1962, but insurance was not concluded because the cost of the strictest security precautions was less that of the premium.

Mona Lisa which is housed in the popular (Gallery) Louvre in Paris, France, is a jealously and heavily guarded and secured piece of art. It is protected in a climate controlled environment and encased in bullet proof glass, a room which caused seven million dollars to build at the time. This painting which is considered priceless and cannot be insured has since become a proud property of the French people, and government, and has therefore survived more than 500 years today. 

By Morgan Nwanguma

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Will We Ever Learn?

Goethe Institute, Lagos recently staged an exhibition tagged 'Black.Light Project' (a photographic and Artist/Writers initiative) at the old Federal Government Press, No. 9, Broad Street, Lagos. It opened for public viewing and interaction on Saturday, 13th October, 2012. Black.Light Project is an artistic project which saw the coming together of like minds in Artists, Photographers, Writers, etc. who at one time or the other were in the thick, or mere observers, of the conflicts of the war torn West African states of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Guinea Bissau, of not too distant memories.

The Black Light Project campaign 
The project is an epic documentation from 15 graphic storytelling artists from all over the world, who joined the project by merging writings and photographs with drawings depicting daily life and survival during the wars in these four countries. These conflicts that have left their big scars on the surface of the African continent and more, have been captured from the peering eyes of artists and downloaded in this powerful and concise graphic narratives, and is on tour of different continents of the world. Nimba – the War Lord says: “I have no need to be here.”

The desecration of peace and tranquillity, the rape of innocence by the whims and power cravings of the Samuel Does, Charles Taylors of this world, etc, can be seen in the general angst, reprisals, disillusionment in the faces of child soldiers, the black-out in an entire country such as Liberia, etc. But most importantly, these dark pictures with their graffiti and the stunning storylines should go a long way in awakening a continuous reflection and dialogue in our hearts. But will we ever learn our lessons?

By: Morgan Nwanguma

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sculpture in Nigeria

The practice of sculpture in Nigeria is more popular in the traditional sense than in the academic or modern sense because here, it is mainly the traditional wood carver, and also the traditional bronze casters of, especially Benin that still hold sway. Most of these of course fall under the category of religious, cult or tourism art. Much of the tourism sculptures are visible around the five star hotels that dot the landscapes of the major cities. Some of the popular items in this category of popular art include wood, ivory and metal sculptures. Academic sculpture is still to be given its pride of place by the authorities, and patronage is still at its low
ebb. It is however in the academic circles that academic art and sculpture is being exalted and propagated. This practice is however complemented by some of the exhibitions that are privately staged here and there from time to time as well as the activities of a few interior decorators that simply just live up to their name as decorators, that is. But in terms of public commissions, only a few important sculptures have been seen to be publicly commissioned or erected year in year out. We still look forward to greater improvements, and attaining the ideal which recognises that in the design or proposals for public buildings, due provisions should be made so as to incorporate artistic embellishments such as sculptures in the round, permanent installations, assemblages, and also ‘functional’ sculptures for instance as built into parks and gardens. Thus these are supposed to be so integrated as part and parcel of the overall projects. This has hardly been the case in Nigeria. Thus the government is yet to see reasons to institute endowments for the arts as is done in more civilised climes. The popular mediums or techniques so far employed in Nigeria are usually in the range of concrete, metal, marble, fibreglass, wood, etc. Some important artists of this genre however could be just to mention a few: Yusuf Grillo, Abayomi Barber, Ben Ekanem, Ben Enwonwu, Ndidi Dike, Olu Amoda, Matthew Ehizele, El Anatsui, etc. Morgan Chima Nwanguma

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Gallery

'Where are the prophets' - oil
'A Jazzy affair' - watercolour
'A problem of water' - oil on canvas
'Elation' - oil on canvas
'Face of Africa' - oil on canvas
'Mobile' - oil on canvas
'Power of love' - watercolour & ink
'Precious moments' - watercolour
'Somebody's home' - oil
'State of the Union' - watercolour & ink

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Remember Gani Odutokun

Gani Odutokun was one of the most talented, prolific and inspiring artists to come out of Nigeria this century. Gani was my lecturer and a great inspirer and motivator that had an unending strong influence on many of us who were privileged to have had training under him. His untimely death in a car crash in February of 1995 meant the loss of one of Nigeria's pioneers of Modern African art. Could it be just an irony of fate – Gani loved ‘accidents’? Thus his latter works were results of happenstance, and 'happy' accidents, from which he derived his unique liquidized oil painting technique. 

'Dry earth'  - liquidized (oil) painting by Gani Odutokun

All in Your Eyes