It is going to be the first of its kind at the upscale Four Point sHotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, a brand of Marriot International (the biggest hospitality company in the world with over 6,000 hotels), and it promises to be the beginning of many more exhibitions to come. Four Points by Sheraton is the latest stakeholder in the bourgeoning Nigerian hospitality industry to embrace artists from the country.
“Art Connect”, an exhibition of synergetic sculptures and paintings, is the first of the hotel’s major collaborations with Nigerian artists. The three artists –Dotun Popoola, Segun Philips and Akeem Adeleke –are described by the hotel management as innovated and talented.
Previewing the forthcoming exhibition, the General Manager of the hotel, Jonathan Patterson, said, “My travels in the past three decades as a General Manager in the hospitality world has taken me all over the world, but I am especially pleased to be here in Nigeria savouring its very rich and diverse art and culture, of which I and our owners are great supporters.”
The British stated that it was the first time the hotel “has allowed the cream of Nigeria’s young art talents with an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures to utilise its outlet in this form.”
The exhibition, he said, was being sponsored as part of the hotel’s social responsibility to the Lagos community. When it was offered the opportunity to host the event, the hotelier said the management jumped at it, for “it could help to inspire us all.”
He expressed optimism that many people would visit the exhibition not only to enjoy these exceptional examples of Nigerian artistic offers but also to get a better picture of the country’s shared cultural past – “a past that can inspire us to work towards a shared and better future.”
Dr. Popoola will be showcasing three major works during the exhibition, purely synergetic metal sculptures, derived from different materials, both ferrous and nonferrous metals, to compose his sculptures.
“One of the major things I do is to use my work to protest the issue of waste. We know that Nigeria is considered the junkyard of the western world, and you see different automobiles, different fake generators, and different metal materials in our market. So, by the time you buy them, you discover that, in a short time, materials probably get spoilt due to different factors.
“For instance, if you buy a tokunbo car, in less than a month, you probably will change your shock absorbers or change your brake pads. So each time I visit the junkyard, I see some of these materials as my tools for my trade. I pick them up in different colours and different shapes. I see most of them as a metaphor. So I will compose all of them together to create a sculpture,” he said.
One of the works he will be showcasing is entitled “The King Fisher”. In it, he created the sculpture of a bird eating a fish, using different rust metals, scrap metals, stainless aluminums and bronze composed together. Aside the three works, he will be exhibiting, he has two other commissioned works which a client has bought already. However, before delivering it to the client, the artist would be showing them at the exhibition, too. The other three works will be for sale at Four Point by Sheraton in the course of the exhibition.
Adeleke Akeem is another artist who will be showcasing his works at the exhibition. He is a landscape artist interested in city scape at night. He uses his paintings to change people’s negative perceptions about the challenges faced by Nigeria. The paintings always come out beautifully that people often ask him, “Is this really Nigeria?” It is his belief that God blessed Nigeria with beautiful scenery, and it is duty as an artist to bring it to the world.
Segun Philips is a painter. He has developed a peculiar painting style called Woodenism, “When you look at my style, you will have a feeling of shaft wood but being created with apparent colours. I do it in such a way you think I use shaft wood,” he said. With these materials, he creates scenes and happenings around the world, past and present.