By Yinka Olatunbosun
Sketches and Therapy, an exhibition of sketches by Duke Asidere opens tomorrow, March 30 at the Hourglass Gallery’s new gallery space along Saka Jojo street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The exhibition which opens by 4pm will be complemented by a book on sketches compiled by Dosie Igweze, who owns the gallery.
On until April 6, the exhibition features 150 sketches by the artist who is better known for his paintings. These sketches which are by no means preludes to bigger works are fully formed works of art by their own rights.
They were produced during the artist’s two-year stint at the Delta State Polytechnic in Ogwashi-Uku whose staff he joined in 2004. Asidere who was going through a period of emotional turbulence saw the job as an opportunity to unburden himself and his new creative energies.
“He sketched the Asaba Expressway, the inner roads of Asaba, Ogwuashi-uku and Ubulu-Unor; the people he met in his perambulations; the models in his art classes and his students,” Igweze explained.
Born to a father who was a sailor with the Elder DempsterCompany in Lagos in 1961, Asidere grew under the early influence of his mother who ran the household. This early influence rubbed off on his art and explains the depiction of women as strong, powerful figures.
Also, the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria-trained artist who was also weaned under the tutelage of late Gani Odutokun, obviously his aversion to conformity traces its origin to the intellectually vibrant atmosphere of the ABU art school.
At the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, he lectured alongside the renowned artist, Sam Off with and late Ben Osaghae. With these artists, he played a major role in engraving the Auchi Art School in the collective consciousness of the contemporary Nigerian art public.
Moving on to Lagos in 1995, Asidere set up his art studio in one of the megapolis’ mainland neighbourhoods. From this studio, he would produce works that are not only documenting the energy and chaos of the streets of Lagos but also works that decry the insanity of politics, the decrepit infrastructure and the subtle degradation of the society.
In a constant homage to his mother, his paintings have always explored the strength and bravery of the women around him. This wouldn’t be his first collaboration with Dozie Igweze. Indeed, this exhibition and the book of sketches is their latest collaboration in a relationship that have lasted two decades.