Lagos-Party, Shanty Inspire Debut Solo Show by Artist

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Yinka Olatunbosun
Sylvester Aigbogun, a painter and graphic artist is set to ignite the virtual space with his Lagos-party scene inspired art exhibition. Lagos is famed for its unrivalled party scene and the culture of “aso-ebi”, the ceremonial uniform worn by party-goers to add glamour to the occasion. As a painter, Aigbogun had always been fascinated with the beauty embedded in colours and this has, invariably, influenced this show. With the theme, “Shanty Aesthetics,’’ this debut show is a product of his graphic art practice and a defiance of the aftermath of the Covid-19 lockdown. Following the lockdown measures imposed globally, many had lost their means of livelihood or business dealsand some businesses were plunged into major depression. With this exhibition, Aigbogun has produced a soothing and therapeutic body of works. This creative elixir taps from cave paintings, renaissance style and the aesthetics of the so-called “Zaria Rebels” playing freely with colours.

In her curatorial statement, Idoreyin Nzeh of Aziki Media examines the dynamics of Aigbogun’s pieces in this show and the creative force that drives them. “A simple theme becomes very complex because of his unique style of treatment which is a fusion of the 17th century impasto and the 19th century impressionism art style,’’ she said.

Asides being a response to the Covid-19 temperament, Aigbogun’s long-awaited show explores the issue of urban migration using colours as the conveyor belt. According to the United Nations, about 70 percent of Lagos residents are living in slums, not by choice but by prevailing economic circumstances.

“In ‘Shanty Aesthetics’, I explore the idea that we are all predisposed to making design decisions irrespective of status or position,” the artist explained in a statement to help his online viewers appreciate the underlying message in the world of his works. “A shanty can be described as a small, badly built house, usually made of pieces of wood, metal or cardboard in which poor people live. They are generally built with recycled materials which still bear the original colours they were manufactured in, different sheets of coloured plywood, metal, cellophane in bright colours such as red, blue, white, green, orange, pink, rust, black amongst others. This body of works is my attempt at capturing the beauty of the completely random aesthetic expression of the shanty dweller.”

The show, which kicks off on Friday, September 4 parades oil paintings such as “Aso Ebi”, “Living off the Grid’’ “Bush Radio’’ “Diana’’ as well as the “Covid-19 Series: Finding the way through the maze.’’ Through the works, Aigbogun draws attention to the complexity, creativity and functionality that shanty-dwellers articulate in their make-shift homes.
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