Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spirit of New Oshogbo Art: Artist Rahmon Olugunna


Date: 25th July 2009


0803 525 1016

0705 634 6458


The Harmattan Workshop Gallery is pleased to announce it’s first exhibition for the summer months of 2009, an exhibition of the vivid and folkloric art of painter Rahmon Olugunna, a second generation artist of the famous Oshogbo School of Art.

Rahmon Olugunna, will show 32 vibrant works of oil on canvas in sizes as large as 42 inches x 36 inches. Despite his long apprenticeship to the painter Rufus Ogundele for several years.Despite his long apprenticeship to the painter Rufus Ogundele for several years, his recent works indicate an important and innovative departure from the Oshogbo extraordinary Experimental Workshop art style, championed by Ulli Biere in the 60’s, that has produced frontline painters like Adebisi Fabunmi, Muriano Oyelami and Twins Seven Seven amongst others.

The artist calls this forthcoming exhibition, which is also his first solo “The New Spirit of Oshogbo Art” and attempts to incorporate many of the elements of style and composition of classic modern Oshogbo art into his creations. His works, not surprisingly have themes and titles that celebrate his Yoruba worldview like Spirit people, masquerades, women, animals etc…and are often clearly treated as semi or full abstractions, with outline colours of mostly black, large brush strokes of blue and indigo colours, that can also be found in the famous tye dye cloth from Yorubaland called Adire Eleko.

Rahmon’s works according to Ifeoma Fafunwa who now lives in Nigeria, are characterized unlike a lot of his Oshogbo forebearers art, by confident images, which show sure brush strokes, that have colours of high complementality. These tonal colour qualities give a certain sense of vibration in his art, which are quite reminiscent of muted neon lights. A notable departure from earthy colours that have almost always defined the Oshogbo painters Examples of this rendition and colour appeal in his art, can be found in Monkey in the Forest, Little Leopard, Three women and Shango People.

She continues by saying “Rahmon’s works have for a couple of years now begun to enjoy quite a following since his professional start at the Lekki market, where his works were first spoted and noted as distinctively art and not craft,…..more art-lovers have since taken to to his style which often times have drawn it’s inspiration from natures beauty, his culture and heritage”

His folkloric paintings are now in the permanent Collections of the Richard Singletary Gallery, in Portsmouth, Virginia, the collection of Chike Obianwu., and some of his works are included in the important collection of Torch Taire in Nigeria, not to mention a number of prominent collectors in the UK.Worthy of mention is that his recent works represent a departure from his native Oshogbo style, this departure, may have been accentuated by his recent stint of almost 24 months travel, away from Oshogbo, freelancing, showing and exhibiting in several galleries, in U.K., and by so doing opening himself to new design formats and cultural cross influences, that may have seeped into his art.

Rahmon’s works, are clearly a welcome development to the immensely fertile artistic landscape of Oshogbo paintings, which have provided him, with a fertile bedrock and pedestal for his growth and development, as an important second generation Oshogbo artist. His art shows an eloquent command of subject matter, and indeed powerful interpretations of many Oshogbo imagery, Yoruba folklore and world view, that have been widened by his thoughts on canvas.

The exhibition will be opened by Prince Yemisi Shyllon, an avid collector of modern and intriguing art from Nigeria. This exhibition will run for 10 days at the Harmattan Gallery from the 9th to the 19th of July, 2009. The Gallery hours are Monday – Saturday 10:00 to 6:00. and Sundays 2:00 to 6:00.


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