Four years after Chinedu Ogakwu launched his Illimite Concept in Lagos, the artist is now set to take same but expanded version to Enugu. Showing as Ilimite-II from December 6-13, 2019, at Temple Avenue, Enugu, the exhibition continues to stress Ogakwu’s displays in diverse mixed media.
For the Enugu show, the artist remarked that Unlimited (English translation) is a concept “unhindered by space or time.” Among his works for the exhibition are Family Picture, Headgear, Conviality, Matters of the Moment, My Lady, Owambe and Status Symbol.
Ogakwu’s paintings of mixed media celebrate social and cultural values just as the artist also highlights issues that surround some questionable behaviours of the people. In Family Picture, the artist stylises figures to depict three persons who represent father mother and a young adult. Ogakwu’s style and technique in the texture of the painting add strong value to the bond that exists in a family.
Also, in Conviviality, the artist brings similar style and technique to continue his celebration of people in bonding. Besides, the artist brings his thought on fashion trends onto canvas in Head Gear, in which a lady’s wrapped head wear, her sunglasses and blouse combine to make urban pop culture of contemporary Nigerian style.
The mixed media piece celebrates the importance of gele (head gear) to most Nigerian women as regards contemporary fashion. A group of five persons, Matters of the Moment, depicts gathering of figures in gossip-like capture. In this piece, the artist brings a style different from the others as the figures are more concealed in identity. However, Ogakwu has a stronger appropriation of his work in what looks like a work in progress. In fact, revisiting Stone Age art has inspired most of his themes. “The trajectory of my cracked and aging canvas techniques goes back to a project I called ‘As Old As Man’,” he said, adding, it’s a self-task of “bringing back art from the beginning into today’s context.”
Ogakwu’s journey from the rudiment of art went through a period of self-teaching. He recalled his fascination by art’s strength in depicting “emotion, a thought or a feeling in ways more powerful than can be expressed by words.”
After his self-taught period a formal training appeared easy when he chose art as a career. Ogakwu obtained a Higher National Diploma in Painting at Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Enugu.
The artist offered, “As a self-taught, I gained advantage in my development as an artist. It enable me to learn unconventional ways of using various materials and develop the necessary skills for their application.”
Over the years, his artistic process has continued to develop and underwent several transformations.
“I liked plaster as a fascinating material and devised my own technique of applying it to various surfaces producing unique texture and style, he said”
According to his Artist Statement, “My intense passion and immense love of nature is the foundation of my creativity. My works consists of using wood bark, ropes, camouflage canvas, nets, wall papers, jute fabric, etcetera. These materials compel me to combine diverse sources; inspirations from my background, culture and life experiences to create feelings that scratch the walls of my being in an attempt to escape into the natural world.
“By this transformation, natural materials and sometimes wastes are given new relevance. One can discover endless little details, and, to me, every new piece is a challenge. The use of objects not only adds a 3D structural quality to the compositions, but also questions what time really means when one is lost in it. The interpretation of a subject matter is transformed into rich, vibrant, radiant, bold and uplifting colour that timelessly awaken the soul of the viewer.
“Elation, contentment and ultimate satisfaction are the feelings I experience on completion of each work. This further fuels my drive and zeal to begin yet another one. Art comes with ideology or philosophy.”