The Ikoyi-based art gallery, Signature Beyond Art Gallery has unveiled a nine-day exhibition of the works of Prince Obasi, a full-time studio artist. With the theme ‘Golden Square,’ the paintings are colourful pieces executed with acrylic on canvas. Largely influenced by the Yaba Art school, Obasi paints with the precision of an orator using techniques of symbolism. With focus on portraiture, Obasi creates a visual satire of the Nigerian society through this body of works.
Take a look at the bulging eyes of the models in this paintings. They seem to have connections with the aesthetics of Constantine. To be sure, Obasi may have used the eyes as motif to illustrate the struggles of Nigerians along the lines of poverty, political emancipation, political and social denial that pervades the socio-economic structure of the nation.
An art scholar, Irokanulo Ikemefula Emmanuel offers his views on how to approach the works born out of philosophy and contemplation.
“Whether or not an artwork possesses representational content is always strictly irrelevant to its status as an artwork. As we go through the huge canvasses of Obasi today to obtain its relevant and significant form to our aesthetic consciousness, we must not forget that the young artist has just set out on a journey of creating and redirect our consciousness of aesthetic understanding. We watch as he struggles to free his creative sensibilities from the influences of his teachers to pure new forms that he is showing us today. My thinking is that the young artist has a new language to speak to our aesthetic consciousness,’’ he declared at the opening of the show.
Born in Port Harcourt, Obasi had his art education at the Yaba College of Technology where he obtained a Higher National Diploma in Fine Art with a major in painting in 2009. He taught visual art in several colleges before venturing into full time studio work. As a prolific painter with affinity for acrylic and charcoal, he is famous for the square human eyes which constitute his own signature.