The exhibition holds at the Alexis Galleries, Akin Olugbade Street, off Idowu Martin Street, Victoria Island Lagos and kicks off on the 22nd of September.
There is a paradigm in the art scene shifting for good. What used to be regarded as wastes are today used to communicate high-end images by contemporary artists. The reason for this might not be detached from the high cost of art materials, which has gone beyond the reach of some emerging artists. The cost of modelling paste, for instance, which is primarily used to add texture and relief in painting has doubled in price.
The development has provided opportunity for local artists to innovate alternatives to the high cost of art materials. This has seen many artists come up with works made of discarded materials like nails, cooper wires, wood dust and cloth.
Artists, who are part of this revolution in painting, are Chukz Okonkwo and Seye Morakinyo. Both artists are exhibiting two dimensional works made of byproducts such as sawdust, adhesives and channels, as well as cloth. The exhibition holds at the Alexis Galleries, Akin Olugbade Street, off Idowu Martin Street, Victoria Island Lagos. It is for a period of two weeks and kicks off on the 22nd of September.
While Okonkwo is displaying 30 works of art and crafts made of wood dust, Morakinyo, who transited from his meticulous linear expression, where he has made a name to collages and pebbles, comes to the exhibition with works made of cloth, hence the exhibition theme is “Wooden Cloth”. Visitors to the exhibition floor will find Morakinyo’s expressions intriguing and spectacular.
“I have the best of both artists in terms of their works. There is eclecticism, a balance between Okonkwo and Morakinyo, and it will be a pleasure to behold the allure that links their works. It is a kind of picture paint outing,” remarked Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, CEO Alexis Galleries and The HomeStores who delights in empowering young artists.
She described Seye Morakinyo during a press preview at Alexis Galleries as an artist who was very quiet, humble, private and generous, and could give out a work worth millions of Naira free of charge, adding that his next show was going to be at the National Museum. “I want him to get to that level, and we are going to put him in one of our residences preparatory to pushing him up the radar,” she added.
Morakinyo, who has participated in several art shows and programmes within Nigeria and abroad by proxy, summed it up thus, “Every artist is a novelist, though not all novelists are artists per se. either a fiction or whatever, you are caravan taking your views on a literary journey.”
However, Chukz Okonkwo brings the ligneous angle to the exhibition. With a track record of achievements in woodworking, he runs a furniture factory. He recalled a nugget from one of his lecturers many years ago, “Art is like clutch throttle engagement. If you make good art and unable to make money from it, you wouldn’t be emotionally comfortable to forge ahead.”
He believes in financial reward for a good artwork, “It takes a lot to grow as an artist.” He enthused, “I’m a full studio artist. I have a workshop with people working for me and I pay them. Once in a while, I go to supervise what they are doing and return to my studio. So, I’m comfortable to paint, and express myself. I don’t paint to hawk about so that I can eat.”
Okonkwo has had 50 group exhibitions and five solos in Lagos, Abuja and United Kingdom. He also supported the paradigm that artists should not rely solely on producing artworks but should also engage in other businesses. Hear him, “In America, most artists work and still paint. It is a good philosophy and best combination: work and do your art as a hobby. Who says that an artist cannot live big; buy house in choice places in Lagos and go on N20 million car.”
A considerable number of his works are portraiture that objectifies the female folks. Some of the titles include: “Figure 8”, “Dear Future Husband”, “Someday, My Prince Will Come”, etcetera.
“Figure 8 is a story of a lady with big butt, who is being victimised as a result. Most times when she goes to the class, she finds it difficult to be comfortable because she is being abused. It is what is happening to African women. Some of them because they are either slim, or fat, are not comfortable with their body structure,” he said.