A joint exhibition by two advertising executives which opens saturday at the Terra Kulture, Lagos, offers insight into different artistic dimensions of the friends beyond writing copies to sell a brand, writes LANRE ODUKOYA
“Art for me is a passion. If I do not actively engage in art daily, it makes me feel incomplete and empty,” Wande George, co-exhibitor said in the artist brochure. For him, a burning passion to emerge more with the pleasurable strokes is pushing the limits. Since graduation in 1987, he has participated in several group exhibitions and a joint exhibition in 1990 with Jude Eseurohbo at the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.
That experience according to him has been “a watershed” in his career. As he forged on, his odyssey in the advertising business, first as an illustrator and later as art director has sharpened his creative abilities, idea generations and execution process. In 2001, he found an inspiration create a painting christened The Naked Truth which led to similar ideas like Disobedience and Giant Strides in 2001 and 2002 respectively. The Naked Truth series was about some of the obvious truths in our complex society. And they are as naked as they were being presented.”
In the course of these adventures, he shared his ideas with others and found out that their experiences and views on those issues were similar.
All his works at the exhibition are in oil and canvas and some of them include, Blooms, It’s Greener on the Other Side, Alliance, The Exit, The Ruling, Salon and Trance among many others.
That Kola Arifajogun’s forte is in the Nigerian culture is not in doubt, this much is evident in his works. After his foundation training at the then Lagos State College of Education now Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education in 1983, he dreamt of creating great ideas that highlight cultural expressions, particularly about motherland and Nigeria. Since 1982, he has also featured in several exhibitions, group and solo both at home and abroad.
According to the artist, “as a painter, I have tried to communicate to the world with the issue of oil paint, acrylic, water colour, pastel and mixed media or in the round 3D format. When I use colours to depict moods, forms and shapes, the feeling I get is always thrilling and fascinating. The different colours and shapes in some of my paintings portray different classes and life issues as well as reporting incidences in our society with the aim of drawing attention of people. I hope this will eventually bring about changes and at the same time serve as part of our cultural history. The cultural value of my people is the most important issue in my heart, which is also prevalent in my works. My Reemergence is borne out of experiences and encounters with my culture which is of great interest to me, to reflect the activities, festivals, ceremonies and the mode of dressing which in many ways flaunt the richness of our culture.”
His vast play with watercolour, acrylic on paper, oil on canvas, pastel, acrylic on canvas will make a collector’s outing worthwhile.
“The paintings of Wande George are essentially the products of his training, his influences and his creative search over the years. The paintings in this collection are in three categories. They are oil on canvasses. There is consistency in the brush work and in the choice and application of colours. The first categories are bold and colourful. The next category is illustrative and self narrative. And the third category is visually extended,” Duke Asidere, an artist said of his works.
Sam Ovraiti, director, Artist Anchor Point also noted: “Kola Arifajogun is also a guru in the advertising industry. He portrays a gentle personality that combines a regular painting programme with solving the design needs of clients in the advertising world. He is proficient in a number of painting media such as water colour, oil on canvas and pastel. He combines traditional and the post modern in his presentations, some of which are reduced to basic shapes in colours. Predominantly, he is a recorder of cultural events prevalent in his society. Such activities that offer him opportunity to observe religious rites, marriage, commerce, carnivals, lifestyle, family ties and contemporary issues are recorded in his paintings.”
The management of Terra Kulture offers a glimpse what would be on showcase at the exhibition which opens today and rounds off on August 28. “In all, both artists exhibit a scintillating mastery of their act, presenting a strikingly interesting body of works that are both thought-provoking and inspiring, showing clearly that they are truly emerging.”