Family and friends recently converged at the Didi Museum, Victoria Island, Lagos, to witness the debut art exhibition by Abidemi Demuren, prolific and talented artist.
Tagged, ‘Unity In Diversity’, the exhibition showcased over 19 stimulating art pieces, all emanating from Demuren’s diverse pool of muse which varied from the popular drummers at Owambe parties, to the wheelbarrow pushers in Lagos markets, or his musical influences and recycling habit.
Born in the late 70s in Lagos, Demuren grew up in the golden era of comic books, during which he spent any money he had on books, including illustration books, drawing books, colouring pencils and anything else he could find to drift off into his own world. At an early age, he started recreating ideas and thoughts as they appeared in his subconscious.
The love of art and being able to put pencil, pen, ink, and colours to paper was his joy. If you could think it, Demuren could draw it. As talented as he was in art, he was also exceptional in music. Starting from his early years in the church choir where he played the drums, he also thought himself how to play the piano, flute, guitar and later, the saxophone. At school, he struggled in almost all phases of coursework except art. He saw words as reflections on mirror hence the difficulty sometimes confusion with words. But that difficulty had an exception, a gift, as we would later call it – Clarity of Imagery!
Concerned about his academic performance, his parents took him for evaluation at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, United Kingdom, where he was diagnosed with some form of Dyslexia. Thus, at the age of 15 years old, he proceeded to the U.S. to further enhance his development at The Maple Brook School, one of the leading child development schools in the United States. He obtained a High School Diploma from the institution in 1996. He studied College Studies in Commercial Arts at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, New York from 1996 to 1998.
He later studied Animation and Graphic Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Along the way, he also picked up ceramic sculpting and pottery. His style of Mixed Media has won several art contests, including 4 New York State regional art installations. In the quest to feed the urge of normalcy of achieving a degree, his quest still brought him back to his love – his love of art: That simple expression on paper. The journey and travails of slow pace of life development has its toll but through it all, he never quit and was more than determined to continue.
They say Art and Dyslexia are a Picture-Perfect combination, with some of the world’s great artists like Pablo Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci, Auguste Rodin and Jackson Pollock all known to have some form of dyslexia and still achieving great success. Following in their footsteps, Abide moved back to Nigeria a couple years ago yearning to share his vision and art with the place where it all started. He has uniquely combined his own view of the African culture with his Art, which can be seen in some of the work.