Oluwole Omofemi’s artistic imagination is fed by childhood experiences in the back street of Ibadan. His works betray a soft spot for women and children and genuine concern for the underprivileged children in the society.
From May 4-May 11, 2019, he will be the cynosure of all eyes at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos, 2019, when Eriri (Experience), his debut solo exhibition of paintings, is expected to hit the ground running.
His works frequently resonates with a deep appreciation of African fashion, rediscovery of forgotten hairstyle and Afrocentric pride. He enjoys expression in acrylic and oil paint, which are his media for vibrant expressive creativity. He is interested in historical themes and early childhood experiences.
“Iriri”, said the artist, “is an art exhibition that focuses on the different life stages such as childhood, adolescent stage, adulthood and old age. The works which will be on display will mostly show the basic life stages in the female gender (adolescent/puberty stage precisely).
The stages in the life of a female gender is quite interesting. Right from infancy to the adolescent and puberty stage, then to the adulthood, which helps them into motherhood. This stage is quite an interesting and intense stage. She begins to develop into a woman and becomes more conscious of her physical appearance, starting with her hair and outfits.”
Besides, Omofemi’s works depict everyday occurrences and seeks to correct social vices that are vast spreading in the society and he aims to deploy the influence of visual art to better the lot of children and revived the neglected beauty of African fashion.
“The Afro is a symbol of the black beauty and a neglected hair fashion of Africans. It dates back to the 50s and 60s when African women wore their natural hair gorgeously. The unstretched Afro (kinky) hair was a way to celebrate the culture and uniqueness of the black race. No wonder women feel their hair is a ‘crowning glory’ as this phrase dates back to the Biblical times.
Thus, this helps us to understand the mystery behind every woman’s beauty and to further understand the interest of the artist on this regard and why he decided to be so emphatic on this. Ejire (twins) is a perfect example of this. The twins are seen wearing their Afro gorgeously. Their choice of outfits and colours also depicts their temperament and lifestyle,” he added.
Born in the late 1980s among the rusty-roofed dwelling of the ancient city of Ibadan, he had his National Diploma and Higher National Diploma in Fine Art at the Polytechnic of Ibadan. He is a member of the world touring art group, Coure de Diona, based in Italy, and his works are widely collected in Nigeria and outside Nigeria. Omofemi has participated in many group exhibitions both home and internationally.
Iriri is sponsored by Tiger, Pepsi, Mikano, Delta Airline, Wazobia TV, Nederburg, Cobranet Internet Service Provider, Cool FM, Art Café and the Homestores Limited.
For this exhibition, Alexis Galleries is partnering with Braille Book Production Centre, a place that provides educational services for blind and visually impaired pupils and adults and equip them for an independent life via educational services for the blind with the aim of assisting blind persons to become self-sufficient adults in the communities in which they live and work.
The centre was set up by Nigerwives, a not for profit association of non-Nigerian women married to Nigerian men who reside in Nigeria in 1995, and has pioneered the computer production of brailed textbooks in Nigeria. It was founded by Jean Obi, a British by birth, married to a Nigerian, who, in 1962, moved to Lagos and joined the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), where she taught herself Braille.
The curator, Patty Chidia Mastrogiannis, who is also the founder and Director, Alexis Galleries, said part of the proceeds would be donated to the centre. Art aficionados, collectors and members of the public are encouraged to turn up for the exhibition.