Artists’ residency is critical for the development of any artist. Not only does it afford him the opportunity to travel to see and exchange ideas with other artists, it also offers opportunity for him to interact with masters in visual art and network that would further his career and mentorship from those he admires and look up to.
It is against this backdrop that the yearly residency dubbed Fate at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos, is seen as a good programme to come to the creative industry in Nigeria.
The residency, sponsored by Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano and Art Café, entered its sixth edition recently. It graduated six experienced and up-and-coming artists who were taught by Nigerians foremost visual art professionals. The artists confessed to have been exposed to new art forms and inspiration for works that enrich their art.
Tagged Residency FATE（VI), the fortunate artists underwent two weeks programme at the gallery. They were drawn from different cultural identities of the country. They are Olatunde Taiwo David, Taiwo Owoyemi Sola, Usman Semiu Alvin, Kalu Isaiah, Darlington Chukwumezie, and Akeem Dada. Three of them are sculptors while others are painters.
Founder, Alexis Galleries, Patty Chidiac, explained that six artists were entered for the programme, but only five participated. She reiterated that “there had been residences for the past six years which challenged the artists to create the best of art pieces saying that this edition was not an exception.”
Besides, “The artists will have the opportunity of exhibiting at the gallery what they have done in painting, assemblage sculpture, mixed media and metal foiling during the residency, on February 15, 2020.”
She disclosed that the exhibition is in partnership with an Italian non-governments, Loving Gaze, located in Lekki-Epe, Lagos, and ten percent of proceeds from the exhibition would be donated to the NGO as part of giving back to the society that sustained the enterprise.
She maintained that the residency had offered participating artists opportunity to fraternalise and exchange techniques that improved their works, “The artists on their own have good works but they improved with the residency, which for me, is nothing but growth because, there are no distractions.
Some of the artists shared the impact of the residency to their art. Usman Semiu Alvin, a figurative artist, said that one of his artworks, which was nude painting of a female model was significant because of the way the model positions herself.
“When a model sits, we go round her, the position we find interesting is where we take our draftsmanship. In today’s Nigeria, what sells is nudity. Though some of the girls do not sell them because they want to engage in prostitution. The economy has forced them to expose their bodies just to make money. But the one portrayed in my work does not fall for money but to model and get paid,” he said.
He noted that his experience at the programme was tremendous. He pointed out that, beside meeting new colleagues at the programme as an indoor studio artist, “it has also helped me with new Ideas, new ways of doing my work, experience and knowledge. To me, the residency is like an eye opener because what I achieved at the place in two weeks, I never thought I could achieve them in that record time.”
Akeem Dada also described the programme as wonderful, especially meeting new artists who influenced him with a lot of knowledge, skill, and approach to work. He narrates, “Before I came for the residency, I’m kind of slow when it comes to achieving my painting with speed but with a lot of grilling with other artists, advises, and critiquing, my speed has improved. “So, leaving the residency, I took away two things, the opportunity that came and the experience garnered are not what money can buy.”
For Olatunde Taiwo David, it was also amazing in the sense that their styles influenced each other. “Those of us who were not into panels got ideas, shared it, and there were improvements on our works,” David said. He gave example with the way he placed his foil on the panel and added that it was not part of him in the past but, through the residency, he got influenced by one of the artists to do it better.