By Henry Akubuiro
Curated by Mathew Oyedele, Ideh Eyimofe and Ike Sandra, Waiting for Tomorrow, a solo exhibition, will be held at Alexis Galleries. The exhibition is taken from Sam Ovraiti’s recent personal experience.
Oyedele briefed a select group of journalists at a recent media preview of the forthcoming exhibition held at the artist’s Lagos residence, under the auspices of Alexis Galleries, that the artist “has realised that time is a very important factor, and one needs to live in the moment. He was waiting for tomorrow to come, but, with his recent experience, he has realised that things that would be valuable to him have already been done; things that would give me much significance were already around him; that the tomorrow he was waiting for is already within his vicinity. So all he needs to do is to just tap into it.
“The work in the exhibition covers a period between March 1994 and 2022, as we know Sam Ovraiti is one of the artists who has tested the limits of colours as a medium. As he usually says to his students, ‘don’t be afraid to use these colours’. He works across oil, watercolour and pastel, and we know that, between 1987 and 1991, he introduced pastel as a medium for the Nigerian art community by using it to make different portraits, which gave him that relevance. After those four years, he moved into abstract watercolour, oil, monoprint and the rest.
Ovraiti noted he was expecting to create new works for this exhibition but circumstances changed it, which made him realise that tomorrow was already here. The twenty-four exhibited works are drawn from his portfolio done over time, including pencil, charcoal, and monoprint.
“The idea of giving these works out is that, at a time, these works take a life of their own. So it’s time for them to be given out. So when I did the drawings of 1994 and 95, I did them in Auchi when I just got married, and I was drawing my wife, a young woman. I wasn’t even thinking of producing art that I loved,” he remarked.
Thanks to the curators who saw his portfolio, they recommended that his previous works were still relevant for today, hence “the idea of waiting for creating works tomorrow had passed, for “we have already seen the works we need for tomorrow. In essence, Waiting for Tomorrow is a collection of masterpieces by Ovraiti that he was thinking of creating new works when the curators could see that he had already created the works for tomorrow,” said the artist.
The Curatorial Statement signed by Mathew Oyedeke et al announced that “Waiting for Tomorrow, a solo exhibition of works by Sam Ovraiti is the first solo outing of the artist after his retrospective exhibition at Alexis Galleries in 2019. Born in 1961 and currently working in Lagos, Nigeria, Ovraiti is known as one of the best contemporary artists to have tested the limit and boundaries of colour, over the years.”
Patty Chidiac Mastrogiannis, Founder, Alexis Galleries, reiterated that “Waiting for Tomorrow is an exhibition of works that have grown, appreciated and increased in value over time, and we hope you see the importance of seizing and living in the moment from this exhibition.”
The exhibition, which starts on Saturday, December 10 and runs through Saturday, December 24, 2022 at Alexis Galleries, , is sponsored by Pepsi, Indomie, Mikano, Art Cafe, Loving Gaze, AMG, among others.