For Playspot Studio, Saturday, December 1 heralded a new beginning. The studio, a brain-child of the artist Duke Asidere, has relocated to a new space at the Gbagada Phase 2 Estate from its previous location in Egbeda. Since it was launched in September 2012, the studio has become a meeting place for artists’ interaction through its workshops, open studio and seminars.
The event, tagged “Open Studio”, the artist cautioned, should not be misconstrued as the launch. Rather, it was an occasion designed to get the artist’s friends to visit the studio. In this informal ambience, they were expected to interact with the artist and his works. But there was less interaction with the latter more and more members of the visual arts community swarmed the venue. Even in this informal setting, ideas were swapped between artists and networks were firmed up.
The 1990 Ahmadu Bello University graduate hopes to open the doors of the studio to include collectors, art writers and critics as well as other stakeholders. The new Playspot Studio, which occupies the ground floor of a duplex, is a more accessible location and will make it easier for it to be more inclusive in its programmes. Among the studio’s new target audience are secondary school students around Gbagada.
Reeling out its programme for 2019, the artist hinted at a solo exhibition, which he hopes will hold sometime mid-next year at Omenka Gallery in Ikoyi, Lagos. The planned solo outing will feature 12 paintings and a few drawings.
Back in the Egbeda neighbourhood of Lagos, Asidere had held workshops for more than 30 artists in five venues. The workshops, which were part of the activities that marked his 50th birthday, took the form of street painting. Besides Egbeda, they held in Palmgrove and Ojuelegba areas of the lagos mainland, among other venues.
Art, the 57-year-old artist said, must be relevant to societal issues. That explained the “Protest Art” concept of the studio. Artist themselves, he added, must lift themselves above unprofessional conducts and engage in self-cleansing before hoping to address the larger society. “We must share our art with ordinary people on the streets,” he argues. “Art has the power to change our society for the better only if artists take the lead.”
The former Auchi Polytechnic lecturer, who also holds an MFA from the Ahmadu Bello University, hopes to get the new Playspot Studio ready in a few weeks’ time.