They have taken the art space by storm, documenting histories of artistic legacies that would endure generations. In their cult like manner, they have mulled another idea christened La Floraison (The Bloom 1) to capture local and francophone artists, redefine an outstanding period, and establish an exemplary era that would see next generation of masters twenty years down the line.
These great artists whose works are an exquisite crossover between traditional and contemporary art are a Beninese, Dominique Zinkpe, and 14 Nigerian artists: Segun Aiyesan, Sam Ovraiti, Duke Asidere, Zinno Orara, George Edozie, Fidelis Odogwu, Diseye Tantua, Reuben Ugbine, Abiodun Olaku, Gab Awusa, John Oyedemi, Alex Nwokolo, Edosa Ogiugo, and Gbenga Offo.
They had the inaugural edition of The Bloom 1 on Saturday December 8, at Alexis Galleries, 282 Akin Olugbade Street, Off Idowu Martins, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. And each artist will be showing minimum of two pieces of works in the exhibition, which runs till December 22, 2018.
With skills that had impressed on global art connoisseurs, in their various exhibitions across the world, they have achieved a feat by brilliant fidelity to their traditional roots, while also playing in the contemporary artistic genre.
The exhibition is supported by a consortium of organisations, including Pepsi, Mikano, Delta Airline, Amarula, Nederburg, Cobranet Internet Service Provider, Chocolate Royal, The Avenue Suites, The Homestores Limited, and Art Café.
In a press preview with arts journalists, Founder and Director Alexis Galleries who also is the Curator, Mrs. Patty Chidiac Mastrogiannis disclosed, “We might be having more artists but we hope that this might be an exhibition we might be having every year with select artists such as the next masters so that we can give back to the industry. Most of the artists are icons except Dominique Zinkpe, who is also of the same calibre of artists. It is an amazing show, and an honour to represent such artists on The Bloom 1.”
She indicated the galleries wish to establish an ongoing relationship with the community of artists, so that, together, we could renew and sustain our artistic vision for mutual benefits and for the good of our respective communities and countries.
Gab Awusa who has plied the trade for 30 years revealed that he was an avid painter of women adding that most of his works were on women. “I cannot explained why until someone asked if I was born into female family, I told him yes, he said, “no wonder you’ve continued to work on women.”
“I think most times, I look at women from different angles as evidenced by the three works I have for this exhibition: ‘Mood Swing,’ ‘Soloist,’ and ‘The Breadwinner.’ The first one X-rays the complexities of a woman changing all the time. Sometimes, they are in one direction; at another time, they have changed. A woman is a complicated human person, and each time you look at one, there is always something to talk about, and that is what basically informs the theme of my artworks.
“‘Soloist,’ cuts the image of a woman playing a guitar, and ‘The Breadwinner’ is a story of a woman taking the place of man because of the economic crunch. Most times in Nigeria and other parts of the world, women play the role of men as the family breadwinner. It has become popular, even in the entertainment industry, to find women contributing high population of artistes in the industry. So, for the past 30 years, I can say that my works had ultimately been projecting salient points of the female gender,” he said.
Sam Ovraiti, another art master, is also part of the exhibition. “Celebration” is one of the works he is showcasing.