In the contemporary art scene, styles may seem to be on the spotlight, yet it is imperative to interrogate the narrative to an artwork with a view to locating whether it carves its own unique interpretation. This is the concern of an ideal art audience and expectation from an artist’s art pieces.
The puzzles find positive expression in a joint exhibition of painting and mixed media by a Togolese cubist and painter, Samuel Tete-Katchan, and Nigerian colorist, Aina Felix, at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos. The exhibition is featuring 21 works from both artists and made possible by Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, Delta Airline, UPS, Cool World, Cobranet, Aina Blankon, The Homestores and Art Cafe, while media partnership was provided by WAZOBIA TV, and Cool FM as part of their support for the visual art.
Founder Alexis Galleries, Patty Chidiac Mastrogiannis, says that the gallery recognises the uniqueness in style and interpretation of ideas by the artists, hence the birth of “Colours and Cubes”. Represented by co-curator, Bimpe Owoyemi, she added that colour had been the peculiar art style of Aina, judging by his bold application of vibrant colours and textured surface that gives a special uniqueness to his renditions. “Aina Felix is an impressionist painter who has been able to create and achieve his own trend and style of mixed media with colourful impasto.
“For Tete-Katchan who is showing 6 panels and 5 paintings, ‘cubes’ is coined from interpretation of his figures, which clearly has its own plot. His painting celebrates geometrical forms and colours. Although the squares in his works look like they do not have the right angles and same sizes but one can still see the images so clearly,” she said.
She disclosed during a hors d’oeuvre of the works that the exhibition will be public live from November 14, till November 21, 2020, adding, “The virtual tour will be published on the gallery social media handles; Instagram-alexisgalleries, Facebook-Thehomestores/Alexisgalleries, and will be intriguing for both virtual and live view. And proceeds from the exhibition will go to the Sickle Cell Foundation as part of our social responsibility initiatives.”
In an interactive with arts journalist, Aina revealed that the exhibition was his first joint at the gallery. “For a long time, I was in Abuja before I moved to Lagos. I felt, if an artist really wants to push his art, Lagos is the key place, which informed my movement to Lagos.”
Influenced by his alma mater, Auchi Polytechnic, Aina said, I believe that, going to such a school helped me with better understanding of what colour is all about. So, in my painting, I put colour in mind in passing my message. I always use bright colours, which makes my works appeal to the viewer and easily identifiable.”
Contemporary artists seem to be struggling when it comes to colours, but, for Aina, it’s different: “Definitely, I want to blend with the contemporary style of using colour. One thing I understand about art is that, when you are painting and using a particular colour, it is more like using blue sky. It can easily break away as you grow in your art. From the onset, you can’t see me use black on my pallet but now I use black, thus breaking away from the canons in terms of colour theories and its usage. I look at people like Pablo Picasso and some other artists’ style and how they render their colours and apply it in improving my usage of colour.”
On the relevance of themes of his works to the sociopolitical scene, Aina said. “Some of the work has to do with happenings within my environment. I have works that reflect the landscape, market scene, and the stock exchange market suffused into my own style. My focus is more on colour rather than concept ostensibly because of the beauty of colour in every environment. “