Many people have multiple and often conflicting emotions about Lagos architecture. And the interpretation of the city’s landscape and the lifestyles of its people are mixed bags.
In 27 different bodies of paintings, two budding Nigeria’s artists –Olasunkanmi Oyelusi, and Adedotun Fashina –are jointly exhibiting puzzling works that engage the viewer about Lagos habitation. Oyelusi has 12 paintings, while Fashina has 17 of the number of works for the exhibition.
It has “Mixed feelings” as its theme and made possible by private sector driven sponsorships compose of Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, Delta Airlines, Turkish Airline, UPS, Cool World Cobranet and Art Café.
In a press preview recently, it was learnt some of the bodies of works on display at Alexis Galleries 282, Akin Olugbade Street, off Idowu Martins, Victoria Island, Lagos, project sexist prejudices that tend to reduce the fat woman as one to be seen and not hear while other works assume civic engagement of mirroring the city from the position of accommodating all forms of environmental misdemeanor.
The curator and founder of Alexis Galleries, Patty Chidiac Mastrogiannis, while unveiling the dossier of the artists, disclosed that the theme was about mix of artworks from two different artists had poured out their hearts. She added that, on the canvass, Adedota Fashina, one of the artists, is a realist who sees day-to-day activities from his window of stuff about the urban cites, Lagos suburbs and its attendant chaos.
On the part of Oyelusi who is an impressionist she echoed, “he is not only the gallery’s number one restorer but also an oil and acrylic’s painter.” Mastrogiannis said, “The exhibition is critical because it provides another opportunity to give back to the society.” She added that part of the funds realized from the exhibition would be committed to the welfare of people living with Down syndrome and as part of activities to mark this year’s World Down Syndrome Day.
She explained, “This exhibition is in partnership with Down Syndrome Foundation. We also partnered with them last year as part of our social responsibility initiatives. The relationship between the foundation and us has been widened through feedbacks we get from them. They send us their newsletters and today we are happy that one the children is a Nollywood actress.”
Reviewing the ideologies behind the series of the artworks, the curator said, “Oyelusi’s fat woman’s series tackles the issue of ‘body shaming;’ the way people talk down on fat women. He is showing 3 of the fat woman’s series and one of them is entitled “enjoyment Time.”
“The fat woman series is a story whereby she is asked to go on a diet but on the event of nothing happening, she decides to relax and enjoy herself. The man who marries her confines her at home instead of bringing her to his desired shape while he grooves with slim girl otherwise referred to as figure 8.
“In the works of Fashina, he dwells on urban issues: overpopulation and its disadvantages. We can relate with the issues raised by both artists because they generate contradictory feelings within the polity. Some people feel, the fact that a woman owns her body doesn’t mean she should flaunt it anywhere she likes while other school of thoughts feel, “If you have it flaunt it,” she added
Other series of Oyelusi, she said, include landscaping, faces and the fat woman series, which is his chief entry in this exhibition, adding that the artist uses vibrant colours for bold representation.
However in an exclusive interview, Fashina sheds more light on his works. He said, “Basically my works are on the problems being encountered by people in the urban areas due to overpopulation. In the quest for better life, there is mass movement of the people from the rural to urban areas for greener pasture.
“There is this tendency among people to look for a better life that would be worthwhile. So the struggle for the common good brings people together. This in turn brings about overcrowding, slumps and other problems associated with migration.”