The National President, Society of Nigeria Artists (SNA), Oliver Enwonwu, has expressed delight that the annual juried art exhibition, dubbed “October Rain”, has lasted more than 21 years.
In a goodwill message to SNA, Lagos chapter, during a press conference at Aina Onabolu Building, National Theatre, Lagos, to announce this year’s edition, which kicks off tomorrow, Saturday, October 26, at Freedom Park, Lagos, Enwonwu said, in a country like ours where art events rarely last more than 2 years before packing, he was delighted that “October Rain” exhibition had lasted more than 21 years, yet getting stronger, almost like a brand new project.
The Omenka Gallery boss commended past leaderships of the society who had kept the flag flying, especially in a country that relies mainly on crude oil but spurns visual art.
He said, “Most corporate bodies, too, detest investing on anything visual art. It is easier for them to support musical concerts than visual art. ‘October Rain’ expo has continued to bridge the gap between older and new artists, attracting scholars into the field to retrain professionals.
“This is something to be cheerful about. It is my wish that the show continues to grow, going more international such that we have artists from all over the world, jostling to be part of it.”
The art historian said further that “Nigerian visual artists have the potential for global attention. In fact there is more global attention judging by the sterling amount that the Nigerian art is fetching at the international auction, and I’m hoping that the trend continues as SNA Lagos continues to lead the trend.”
The chairman of the Society, Lagos State chapter, Idowu Sonaya, who said that the chapter had curated exquisite artworks from its members for the 21st annual juried art exhibition, revealed that this year’s exhibition, tagged ‘When Thought Becomes Reality’, demonstrates “how thoughts and imagination of man manifest into reality.”
Over 100 artists, who are SNA members, will stampede with outstanding artworks to gain patronage of collecting members of the art community in the yearly exhibition organised in order to promote art professionalism among members and showcase their artworks to the general public on annual basis.
Sonaya explained, “The exhibition is seen as a platform through which superstar artists are brought to the limelight. Beyond bringing burgeoning artists to the fore, the exhibition is becoming a platform through which art and artists’ icons are celebrated.
“In 2016, Sammy Olagbaju (1939-2016) was celebrated. This was followed by Rasheed Gbadamosi and, last year, Yussu Grillo and Professor Abayomi Barker, two iconic artists and scholars, followed suit. This year’s edition is being organized in posthumous honour of Bisi Silva and Bisi Fakeye for their contribution to the growth and development of Nigerian art. Fakeye is a renowned wood carver of the Universal Studio of Art, while Silva is a revered curator of the Center for Contemporary Arts,” he added.
He promised that the exhibition would promote the highest standards of creativity, originality and excellence in various art forms such as painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, ceramics, textile, graphics, performance art, installation and mixed media. “The exhibition will equally feature works of prominent and up-and-coming artists,” he assured.
In his contribution, Dean, School of Art, Printing and Graphics, Yaba College of Technology, Dr. Kunle Adeyemi, corrected the impression that good art must always translate into naira and kobo. “The benefits of participating in this type of exhibition is that the young artists are exposed, which cannot be quantified in naira and kobo,” he echoed.
The Chairman, Exhibition Planning Committee, Animu Oboirien, described the exhibition as a feast in the art space, adding that “October Rain” exhibition had, since inception, generated so much elements, history and facts of texts.
Some of the artists whose works will speckle the exhibition floor include The Sun’s ace cartoonist, Ohams Albert; Dr Kolade Oshinowo, whose painting “Escape from Sambisa” will also be on display alongside works of Prof. Abayomi Barber, Dr Bruce Onobrakpeya, Olu Ajayi, among others. The exhibition’s cotton drops on November 3, 2019.