Kunle Adeyemi Unveils Touring Exhibition at 60

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Artist, humanitarian and Dean, Faculty of Art, Design and Printing, Yaba College of Technology, Kunle Adeyemi celebrates his 60th birthday alongside the virtues of humanity with touring exhibition that kicks-off tomorrow in Lagos, writes Yinka Olatunbosun

Sixty for Sixty! That is the story of renowned art educator, Kunle Adeyemi who is taking a retrospective turn this weekend with a parade of 60 pieces of work to mark his 60th birthday. The touring exhibition which has as theme, “Quantum Leap’’ is one-of-a-kind as it offers young collectors an opportunity to collect works within their budget. In this show, a variety of artistic offerings is promised.

“We have different audiences for the exhibition,’’ explained Adeyemi who opens the first phase of the show at the National Museum, Onikan from Saturday September 14 till 20. I need to bring the show back to the academic community where I work. So, the second phase of the touring exhibition will take place at the Yusuf Grillo Auditorium and Gallery, Yaba College of Technology from September 26 till October 18.’’

Though the show is not commercially driven, Adeyemi is keen on making every audience at the show go home with an art piece. Some paintings are available in plaque-size and post-cards while there are other large works in print, painting and mixed media.

“I want my works to be in as many homes as possible,’’ Adeyemi added while giving a handful of journalists a preview of the works at his Mushin-based studio, which is a hub of budding artists. As one who loves motivating others through workshops, visual art retreats and residencies, his 60th birthday show is not a money-making venture but a way to give back to the society.

To this end, part of the proceeds at this show will be donated to Niola Cancer Care Foundation, Nigeria’s first non-governmental organisation that is dedicated to creating awareness for wellness and specifically colorectal cancer. The donation will help the foundation with its research for cancer cure as well as screenings and advocacy for better treatment.

This is not the first time that Adeyemi has shown his philanthropic side. When he turned 40, he donated 12 of his priceless artworks to the management of Igbobi Orthopedic Hospital for their wards and offices. At 50, five secondary school students won N50,000 worth scholarship each based on a competition that he organised in 2009.

With over 80 group shows and 20 solo exhibitions done locally and internationally, Adeyemi has continually reflected his concern for the social reality in his home country through the thematic preoccupation in each piece. For instance, “Nigeria’s Still A Dumping Ground” (2009) puts a spotlight on the rave patronage of second-hand goods.

“The second-hand clothes are even called Grade A. You will find everything at the second-hand market even underwear’’ Adeyemi added. Other works at the show include, “The Misery of Sambisa Forest,’’ “Women’s Protest,’’ “59 Years After Independence,’’ amongst others.