Aderonke AinaScott is a graphic artist and a painter, who brings finesse and beauty to bear on her works. With two successful solo exhibitions to her credit, the artist’s works touch on themes of history, identity, wealth and womanhood, eulogising them.
She reproduces scenes based on African culture and tradition using images clothed with African twist. The artist, who defied life-threatening challenges to set up her own gallery at Ikorodu, relatively unknown for art, was a horticulturist, a vocation she turned to business after she left Fidelity Bank Plc as head, design and production.
“I looked around after I left the bank, wondering what else I can do that I’m passionate about but working for any other person was out of it because I felt I needed time for my children. They were still very young. So, I wanted something that would not take me too far away from the house. What could that be that would not take me too far away from my environment?
“I noticed that I was still passionate about flowers. And flowers also have to do with creativity. So I began to develop that passion with horticultural business. I decided to make a business out of it. So, I looked at where I’m living at Ikorodu, and there was really no serious horticulturist. I decided to venture with all heads into it, and I was happy. I remembered while I was in the bank that two things made me happy: My plant and art.
“Anytime I’m tensed after Lagos traffic, once I get home, before I get into my house, I start by watching my flowers. With the encouragement and excitement I got, I started to build on it. It was like a therapy for me. Yet I saw the trait slipping out of me. It is either I do that, or after I had rested and taken care of my children before I go into the studio in my house to paint. So those things used to make me feel very happy and they remove stress from me.
“So, that is how I went into horticulture as a business, and it was a good thing for me while it lasted. In 2018, you know I told you I had a break after I had an issue. Io stopped painting because it was a traumatic period for me. But thank God for friends and colleagues that knew me back then who would not let me be.
“They kept asking me what I was doing about visual art, that there are few good female artists in Nigeria that I’m one of them and that was how we started out on the exhibition of acrylic and mixed media painting in August,” she said in a chat at her Ikorodu-based gallery.
While she was working as a florist, at what point did it dawn on her that she was going to be a gallery owner in Ikorodu? She said, “Floral and art are interwoven. There is an interjection which means that there is a way art and horticulture meets, because both have to do with nature. “How did I translate into a gallery owner? What happened was that as an artist, I looked at my environment, community, and my immediate base, which is Ikorodu, there is no gallery there, and I know that there are people that love art in Ikorodu. It is also the culture base for Lagos. It can be said to be one of the cultural towns of Lagos State. So, I said why not Ikorodu?
“A lot of people felt Oh! Victoria Island; Ikeja have rich people; but sometimes your client would come after you wherever you are if you are good. I have made a lot of sales both online and offline and I have more keen customers. Though it has not been easy. We just started but I know that as we begin to create awareness, get funding, we would have more people patronising us, art would be known, and Ikorodu would be known for art,” she explained.
AinaScott had her first solo exhibition entitled “Colours on My Mind,” in 2013 at Mydrim Gallery Ikoyi, Lagos. Her second solo exhibition was in early 2018. She recalled, “When I decided I was going to hold another exhibition, it was tough for me, because I have already had other things that were occupying my time; but, even through it all, I still knew that I has to create time, hence the exhibition was entitled ‘And She Persevered.’
“The exhibition was very successful. Even few weeks to the show, I called the gallery owner to complain to her of inadequate works, because I tried to imagine how it was at the first solo exhibition where I had 50 works. This time around, I was still struggling to gather works, yet the gallery owner continued to encourage me. At the end it all, I could boost of a successful outing.
Then Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, was there, as well as the Managing Director, Arise Television, Mrs. Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, and many other dignitaries. On the whole I exhibited 30 works.”
Which art style tasks her more in your art journey? She laughed briefly. “It is when I’m painting pointillism, which is art of painting with dots. It is always beautiful, but you can spend hours, days, weeks and sometimes months on it, and, at the end, I’m always happy that most times, it turns out beautifully well. You can most times be discouraged.
“Initially, when I used to paint pointillism, I used to use rotary pen. You can imagine how cumbersome that usually is, but there is beauty around it. There is no pointillism I make that doesn’t sell. There is always a beauty around it that people always appreciate.”