By Henry Akubuiro
Edgar Imomoh wanted to study Art at Auchi Polytechnic, but his father didn’t approve of it, so he ended up in the School of Environmental Studies where he obtained a national diploma in Building Technology, yet he was a partial student at the Auchi School of Arts and Design by association. “That school, to preface correctly, was the bedrock for my artistic standard,” he tells Daily Sun in a chat. He went on to be immersed in the Ife Art School, “which wasn’t a bad school.”
Imomoh is a firm believer in virtual opportunities for the artist since Coronavirus impacted the world. “The only constant thing in Virtual is (has been) the new normal; I think the pandemic just sort of lifted off the lid completely for us to embrace ourselves just as we are, as social beings clamouring for connections it was still deemed as pivotal to find a place of convergence and live our normal lives, despite the restrictions of the lockdown. It’s really been tremendous, most especially in a clime that makes a lot of difficulty for start ups, where you are expected to tender ten years working experience to get a small job, while you are just looking to work to garner experiences for yourself.
“I mean the virtual space provides quite a lot of opportunities to all of us. In the sense of it, you can easily become a global professional while sitting on your bed in a small unknown town. As for my art, it’s been everything. A bulk of all the connections I deal with are from my social media platforms, and I have gotten a couple of opportunities there as well,” he concedes.
For him, exhibitions are mainly outcomes of incubated ideas expressed by an artist for an audience to catch a glimpse of the creative perspective on a subject. “I must admit that I am not completely fascinated in outcomes (I see them as a natural occurrence), but in the process from which they evolve. The process presents you with the challenges and barriers you need to hurdle over; it challenges you to think fast and create solutions, as well as consider the variables that will finally make the outcome,” he says.
Nostalgically, Cyclo X, an exhibition of Artists by Artists at the Quarentena Galeria in South America, is unforgettable to him, “notable because it was a colony of artists solo projects and a major international outing for me. The process of getting to meet people who not only connected to you but loved your works beyond a language barrier was elating and a validation in the right direction for me. The tremendous joy they expressed towards me and my project was so uplifting. It’s one that I look back to and smile, because I made a number of friends, and still tag along.”
His paintings are woven around proxemics. Just as the spider spews its web from its innermost belly, Imomoh thinks every artist weaves their from the deep recesses of their soul. He says, “What I do is not exactly a form of art; it’s just the philosophies I structure my works around.”
He grew up in a house full of people, cousins, aunties, uncles and friends. As he grew up, the space seemed to narrow to a lonely path. It made him wonder what happened to their broad space that accommodated all happily.
“On a close examination, I noticed it was not just I, but everyone else had gravitated towards that self first path. This human experience culminates to the foundation I structure my art for now. It reflects the way we interact with (and in) spaces both within and without.
Some people make it a hobby to watch birds; I like to watch people and their social actions and interactions —why is there so much greed and green in these times, when the Earth has resources enough for all of us?”
At the moment, the artist is gathering his thoughts along a body of works. He says, “There’s a lot that has been happening around us —kidnappings banditry, police harassment (which I have witnessed first hand as a victim). It gets to all of us in one-way or somewhat, whether you agree to be in consonant with the prevailing systems or not. These collection of thoughts bothers on these many happenstance, and I just can’t put a name to it at the moment. I have to brood and create and sit back to interact with the works and seek professional opinion in the direction, as well.”
However, he regrets that “our environment berates intellectualism. If you are young and smart, you seem a threat to any office that is supposed to tap and use your potential to its maximum, so you don’t get employed and you take all that genius and go south to engage in petty things. The art environment is the same as the Nigerian environment is presently; I mean, we are all the same people crying for change and sitting duck, waiting for God to come and direct our affairs.”