By Simeon Mpamugoh
There’s always someone behind canvases that talk. But, in the 2nd solo exhibition that is kicking off tomorrow, Saturday March 27, 2021, at Alexis Gallery, Akin Olugbade Street, off Idowu Martins Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, John Oyedemi (PhD), a Fine Arts lecturer at the University of Jos, will be the one talking.
Made possible by a consortium of private organisations, including: Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, UPS, Haier Thermocool, Cobranet, Delta Airlines, Aina Blankson, Arzeh Integrated Ltd. AMG Logistics, Lost In Lagos, The Homestores and ArtCafe, plus media partners —The Guardian, WAZOBIA and Cool FM radio — the expo will be showcasing the artist’s body of 14 artworks.
It is organised by the gallery, in partnership with Loving Gaze, an independent not-for-profit organisation, that caters for the unprivileged community in Lagos and Taraba State through educational activities, basic healthcare service, women empowerment and vocational training. The gallery is partnering by donating part of the exhibition proceeds to its cause.
Describing the artist’s style as unapologetically creative, the curator, Patty Chidiac Mastrogianis, gave credit to Oyedemi’s technique, “Over the years, the gallery has collected and shown the paintings of John Oyedemi. His unapologetic creative style and technique has, no doubt, stood the test of time. His works have achieved this feat by brilliant fidelity to their traditional roots, while also playing in the contemporary art genre.”
With more than two decades in practice, Oyedemi has remained a dedicated master of his vibrant colours and the textural depth in which they are rendered. Although he has, in recent times explored the usage of white space usually dotted in dominant tones of drops of colours, gray tones, and bluish tonalities in varying degrees, he is, equally, someone who feels that man’s effort to create provides him that rare privilege to the extent that frontiers of existence through his imagination.
Explaining the theme, couched by the gallery, Mastrogianis said: “‘Talking Canvases’ shows the desperation of John’s effort to use his art as a tool and a platform that conveys his thoughts and ideas to the public at large through his paintings. It is known that artists tell their stories and also pass their messages through their art style. John, on the other hand, had gone theoretical with his painting.
“The exhibition, which opens to the public tomorrow, 3-6 pm, runs till 3rd of April, 2021, 10 am-6 pm daily. The virtual tour will also be published on the opening day, on the gallery’s social media handles: instagram- alexisgalleries, facebook- Thehomestores Alexisgalleries. “It would intrigue both virtual and live viewers,” she disclosed.
In a telephone chat, the artist revealed, “Each canvas has a message for the beholder. Painting, basically, is patches of colours, that is, expressions of abstract composition. I decided to combine different tendencies that may suit a particular theme. I had in mind to create a bit of mystery in my paintings, and this I achieved by composition of flat abstract spaces and creating the impressions of depth in another. This is viewed from academic understanding of various art movements and what they represent to me.”