Artworks displayed on the maze-like stands
It was a pleasant Friday morning at the highbrow Metropolitan Club in Victoria Island, Lagos. A gaggle of art journalists were ogling at the artworks displayed on the maze-like stands. They consisted of both sculptures and paintings by such renowned artists as Amos Odion and Kolade Oshinowo, amongst others.
Among the 53 works are 34 paintings and 19 sculptures rendered in astonishingly different styles. Little wonder the exhibition catalogue proclaims them as “Treasures”. And true treasures they are indeed – at least, in the eyes of the collector of these works, Chief John Sunday Edokpolo.
Edokpolor, a dedicated art collector of 44 years experience, had amassed this assortment of sophisticated art works by the crème de la crème of the local art scene for his visual delectation. Introducing the exhibition, the curator Mufu Onifade explained in his introductory remarks: “All over the world, every art piece is regarded as a priceless object. Be it sculpture, painting or any other genres of art, each piece commands a value that cannot be pegged by any known standard. In other words, each art object is a mysterious piece of treasure that should be treasured by all” he stated. The atmosphere was so serene with journalists appreciating the collections of Chief Edokpolo, it was as though the collections were selected strictly for the exhibition.”
The carefully-selected works were nevertheless subjected to screening – not because they were of poor quality but for reasons of space constraint at the venue. At the last count, 16 artists (13 painters and three sculptors) made the show. Odion’s works in the exhibition were 13 wooden sculptures! This is not surprising: after all, Chief Edokpolo remains the largest collector of his works. Ever since he started collecting sculptures in 1984, the numerical strength has risen to over 60 works. “A number voluminous enough to generate a retrospective solo exhibition for the artist,” the curator added.