On Sunday, June 9, Moremi Art exhibition opens at the Alexis Galleries, 28 masterpieces that showcase the life and times of the iconic Ile-Ife heroine, Queen Moremi.
Those who visit the gallery at 282 Akin
Olugbade Street, Off Idowu Martins, Victoria Island, Lagos, will enjoy the privilege of seeing an eclectic collection already previewed by His Imperial Majesty (HIM) Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife, the indefatigable promoter of the cultural and historical relevance of Moremi.
Also, the 28 collections titled, “View from the Masters,” in honour of the legendary Queen Mọ́remí Àjàsorò, (QMA) will be unveiled by Ooni himself.
It is a rare opportunity for art lovers and cultural aficionados to catch up with the Ife royalty and mingle with his entourage.
Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, founder and curator, Alexis Galleries, spoke of the 28 artists involved in the showpiece: “They would be portraying Queen Mọ́remí Àjàsorò the way they see her individually.”
She says: “Obviously, these are people who know the history of Mọ́remí Àjàsorò, and can tell the stories better. The story about this iconic woman cannot be put in the fragile hands of young artists, and no other generation of artists that can paint such an important point of history than the masters.”
She attributes the successful plunking of the 28 artists in one exhibition to God and House of Oduduwa adding that the exhibition, a maiden effort, is a traveling art show. She reveals that part of the proceeds will be donated to a charity in Ile-Ife of the Ooni’s choice, and the Fine Art Department, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife as part of the galleries corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Heritage ambassador of Mọ́remí Àjàsorò legacy, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi regards the exhibition as another initiative to keep the legacy of the iconic queen alive, and also awaken the moment of leadership she gave. “The story of Queen Mọ́remí Àjàsorò is basically about leadership she exhibited 1,700 years ago. It was a moment she saved her community from oppression, taking children and women away from oppressors at the risk of her life. So, she was a sacrificial leader who gave everything up for the love of her people.”
She adds: “The traveling Moremi Art exhibition is one of the first of many exhibitions we are going to be having around her.”
On why visual art is part of the attraction for showcasing the legacies of QMA, art, she emphasizes, is a universal language. In telling the queen’s story, there is a need to see her through the eyes of the artists, Princess Ademiluyi avers.
The exhibition is billed to travel from Lagos to London, New York, Dubai and Lebanon “with more countries to follow as the show progresses,” according to Ademiluyi.
Sam Ovrait, one of the masters says:
“As visual artists, we think based on our imagination and the fact that we see things differently. So, 28 artists in this exhibition will be coming with different visual interpretations of the legacies of Queen Mọ́remí Àjàsorò.
“I’m coming to the show with a look at Moremi from the concept of a woman in contemporary times. Women have now been able to set themselves free from the narrow confines of being behind men, to
taking responsibility of building a society that is desirable.”
Gerry Nnubia, an experimentalist, and multimedia artist describe his presentation at the exhibition: “I have a piece entitled “Victory by Fire,”––the import of the work is that Queen Moremi Ajasoro went through fire. She experienced so much fire and anxiety about the society she lived in; her people were been taken away, their children enslaved. She had only a son coupled with nightmares about losing him to the enemy…at the end of the day, she was able to get the secret that those enemies could only be destroyed by fire. It was a victory for the entire society.”
The exhibition which closes on Friday, June 14, features the work of some of Nigerian’s leading artists including Bruce Onobrakpeya, Kolade Oshinowo, Bunmi Babatunde, Abiodun Olaku, Gbenga Offo, Reuben Ugbine, and Chinwe Uwatse. Others are: Tola Wewe, Sam Ovraiti, Duke Asidere, Dominique Zinkpe, Fidelis Odogwu, Sam Ebohon, Tony Nsofor, Edosa Ogiugo, Alex Nwokolo, Mavua Lessor, Segun Aiyesan, Ato Arinze, Zinno Orara, Diseye Tantua, Joshua Nmesirionye, Gerry Nnubia, John Oyedemi, Joe Essien, Abraham Uyovbisere, Gab Awusa and Gerald Chukwuma.