Friday, April 23, 2010

Ekiti Kete: Exhibition by Olusegun Fayemi

Olusegun Fayemi’s art represents a triumph of artistry over the camera. This in my mind is predicated on the fact that, despite many of his art which start off, by first being captured through the lenses of his camera, they do not necessarily have to pass through the traditional darkroom process, many of us are familiar with. They undergo, specially developed techniques by Fayemi, which encompass various levels of experimentation with computer, mechanical and manual use of colours to enhance the finished paintings and artworks. Last year for instance, his experiments led him to create multi media texturing of his artwork surfaces, using direct application of textile to his art. The results have been vivid, exciting haunting and luxuriant images that oftentimes engage and arrest us, because we are drawn to the splendour, motion and emotion these works display.

Not surprisingly, Fayemi’s is not only admired in USA , Hong Kong and Italy where his works have been exhibited, but also in the Lagos arena,here in Nigeria, where they have caught the attention of very discerning and savvy collectors of art. It is on record for instance that one of his artworks a pigmented photograph titled Pure Water, was the very first work to be sold during the 2008 Art Expo, held at the National Museum, Lagos, where over 25 galleries from all over the country, were in attendance, showing the best of their art. His works have naturally gravitated to prestigious Nigerian collections, like those of Sammy Olagbaju and Rasheed Gbadamosi.

His works are destined for more visibility and surely deserve more of our attention. His stature as an emerging art personality has been accentuated first by his publication of 3 acclaimed photographic books which address issues connected to the negative perception of Africa, and secondly, recently through several of his exhibitions not only in Lagos, the cultural epicenter of Art in West Africa, but in distant places like the Niger Delta Cultural Centre in Agbarha-Otor near Warri, where his works were recently shown a month ago. All these attest to his growing fame like the legendary fire of the Harmattan.

This exhibition Ekiti Kete celebrates the bright, the beautiful, nostalgic and timeless cultural essence of our people, and therefore speaks to the heart of our God giving yearning for community. I recommend we all embrace this important Ekiti International artist by each one of us taking home with us one of his artwork. Each one of these art works is a jewel and a compelling testament to Ekiti Kete, Nostalgic Land of knowledge and Beauty.

Mudiare Onobrakpeya is Secretary General of Art Galleries Association of Nigeria, an Officer of the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation and Curator of the Harmattan Gallery Lagos, in Nigeria.