Art & Design

Ghariokwu In ‘Dance Floor’ of Fela’s Album Cover Design
Lemi Ghariokwu, speaking to guests during the exhibition, in Lagos.
As long as Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, remains a recurring subject on global creative space, designer, Lemi Ghariokwu, would not stop being a human encyclopaedia on the controversial musician. For the 20th year anniversary of Fela’s death, it would have been an incomplete landmark not to hear from Ghariokwu, who was the musician’s album cover designer for almost two decades (1974-1992). READ MORE.
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 Filling Mosaic Art Vacuum With Olaopa's Mission
By Tajudeen Sowole

 AS one of the oldest media of visual representation, mosaic art, whichdates back to the third millennium BCE, is still, in contemporary era, mostly used for outdoor works. Perhaps, confining it to outdoor, particularly in a country like Nigeria where the demand for it is not as regular, has been the reason for its decline and weak appreciation.
Mosaic mural for outdoor wall covering of a private building in Lagos.
Also, being a medium of art that requires an artist's painstaking attention in placing spots of materials to form clusters of images, read more.
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 Ofili, Adjaye Get Queen's Honours

Chris Ofili
Nigerian-British artist, Chris Ofili and his Ghanaian-British counterpart, architect David Adjaye, are on the list of Queens’s knighthood honours in the New Yearear.   Adjaye is the lead architect of the Smithsonian's new museum of African American History in Washington, DC, among several note able works of his.  Ofili, a
 read more.
 .---------------------------------------------------------------------------Experience Nigeria Art of Resilient Patronage

By Tajudeen Sowole
Art competitions as crucial inputs that come with honours such as awards across various other areas of art patronage and promotion are no doubt the oil that lubricate art appreciation in the Lagos circuit. And when the specific art completion in focus is the  oldest in this part of the world, Experience Nigeria Art Show, nothing
Clara Aden’s Hopephobia won the star prize at Experience Nigeria 2016. 
short of rich presentation comes as expectation.
  Interestingly, every edition, Experience Nigeria Art comes in modest texture, but richness in art contents and presentation. For the 2016 edition, artists, patrons and other professionals were honoured with African Art Awards, a spice of Experience Nigeria Show and art competition. MORE HERE.                ------------------------------------------------------
How Art Confronted Recession In Year 2016
President Muammadu Buhari and his wife, Aisha; Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and his wife, Dolapo, during the artists' visit to Aso Rock. Picture: By Tolani Ali.
By Tajudeen Sowole
LIKE other sectors of the economy, the art market started the first quarter of 2016 with a journey into uncertainty. And by the time the Federal Government officially confirmed that the economy had entered recession, the effect of weakened purchasing power was already hovering over art patronage, so suggested the lure that followed.
 However, 'the show must go on.' The art exhibition spaces and auction circuits - two main outlets for the art market - still filled their regular spots, perhaps,
to keep the spirit of art patronage alive. In fact, a new entrant MORE HERE.
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A Stern Mirror Of Preludes, Pretexts, Presumptions

 
A set of sculptures titled ‘Sleeping Beauty’ by Peju Alatise

By Tajudeen Sowole
Populated with miniaturised nude figures, a body of work by Peju Alatise, shown as Preludes, Pretexts, Presumptions at Kia Showroom, Victoria Island, Lagos, accosts behaviourial patterns, prosecutes and perhaps convicts norms into the penitentiary of perception. But like every artist who wields
their creative freedom in a complex task of reminding everyone to visit the mirror,  the verdict in Alatise’s incendiary concept is piercing.
  A visit to the exhibition, three days after its formal opening, presents the artist's oeuvre in an internal, three-way competitive texture between the materials used, technique applied and the theme in focus. But with the truncating of social structures in developing countries, particularly the Africa region, the theme in this exhibition MORE HERE.
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Futuristic Space For Artists of Connectivity
By Tajudeen Sowole

Whatever Badejo Abiodun, Adeleke Akeem, Owolabi Ayodele And Babatunde Bolaji hoped to achieve with Connectivity Of Vision may not exactly get the right attention now. The idea of what the artists described as individual solo exhibitions under one collectivity appeared like a futuristic concept that more artists and galleries might embrace in the years to come. 
A painting, Sunday Morning, by Abiodun Badejo
 In a developing economy such as Nigeria's where less privileged artists are incresingly struggling to have a debut solo art exhibition, a space that allows two or more artists have pool of resource for solo within a group show is indeed worth taking 
a look at. For the artists of Connectivity Of Vision, there came the support of READ MORE.
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Auction record for Sunny Ade’s guitar with drawings by Ehikamenor



KSA's vintage fender guitar sold for N52.1 million naira in Lagos
Designer-artist, Victor Ehikamenor, on Sunday made his auction record with a drawing work on legendary Nigerian Musician, King Sunny Ade’s guitar. Sold for N52.1 million at a Lagos auction, the guitar which was auctioned by Dr. Jogun Onabanjo, a certified Auctioneer and Chief Executive of Onabanjo and Onabanjo & Co, was unveiled at the KSA‘s 70th birthday concert tagged Sunny on Sunday.
  Sources disclosed that the guitar took off with a starting bid of nine million Naira, generated strong competitive bidding to as much as 17 million naira and rose to the hammer sale of N52.1m.
  Provenance described the musical instrument as ‘a vintage fender guitar owned by legendary Nigerian musician, King Sunny Adé. Attendees at the auction included businessmen such as Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mr. Femi Otedola.


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Connectivity of Vision celebrates four artists


At the opening of the art exhibition, Connectivity of Vision, featuring the works of Badejo Abiodun, Babatunde Bolaji, Owolabi Ayodele and Adeleke Akeem at Nike Art Gallety, Lekki, Lagos...recently.





By Tajudeen Sowole

 When Prof. (Sir) Victor Uwaifo, a music star of legendary status with profound career in the academia, stepped out into the visual arts space, for a solo exhibition, the creative enterprise in its full length came to fore. Inside Nimbus Gallery space of Bogobiri, Ikoyi, Lagos, Uwaifo used the opening of his solo art exhibition titled ‘Biomimetics Of Sculpture: And What Is Art?,’ to unveil his research work on three dimensional art as well as launch of a 12-track new music album, You Are The Finest (Wabugie).
  

Sculptural depiction of Captain Moore and Oba Ovonranmwen (1897) by Prof. Victor Uwaifo

 Expressed in sculptures using materials such as resin and ivory - most times with glazing - Uwaifo's work is explained in the academic process of creating art. Most of the human figures on display, including his self-portraits and depiction of 1897 Benin Punitive Expedition, are, perhaps, appropriated as museum pieces, given the scale of themes involved. 


A teaching and research scholar at Department of Fine/Applied Arts, University of Benin (UNIBEN), Benin City, Edo State, Uwaifo, 75, in this major solo exhibition, basically stresses the academic environment's energy in highlighting challenges and providing solution. Shortly before the opening of the exhibition, Uwaifo, dressed in sparkling stage costume, tells me how his exhibition - distilled from many years of research - would change existing basic theory on sculpture. The research, he explains, "refers to materials or substance that imitate nature."


  On display, among over 20 sculptures in both 3-Ds and reliefs, were the artist's impression and stylised depiction of the popular ‘Idia Mask,’ re-titled ‘From Wax to Ivory,; re-enactment of the infamous 1897 Benin Punitive Expedition, with dramatisation of what looks like admonishing of Oba Ovonranmwen by the leader of British invaders, Captain Moore; life size self-portrait with a guitar, stressing his new research in facial expression and quite a number of relief pieces that go deep into Benin cultural values. Among the key arguments of Uwaifo as regards his "new findings" are the issue of facial expression and basement in creating sculpture.


  With his expression in biomimetic of sculpture "it is now possible to accurately have smile on the face of a figure cast in bronze," Uwaifo says. Most times, sculptors working in bronze, he argues, misrepresent smiles in "grimacing or sad" mood. The complexity of generating facial expressions in sculptural works, perhaps, is the reason that most works in that genre are always expressionless.

  In practical terms, depiction of a smiling Nelson Mandela and the artist's self-portraits, for examples, among others, further explains his argument about biomimetic of sculpture. And his 'magic' touch as regards solving facial expression "problem", specifically smile, is in the exposing of the upper dental part of a subject's face, using ivory.


  According to him, "There is a correlation between ivory and human teeth; a simulation of biomimetic ivory makes natural smiling possible."


  Viewing the works on display as the artist led guests - including Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, wife of Edo State Governor, Godwin - the depth of studio work invested, as well as, academic research were really profound. However, Prof Uwaifo may not have really reinvented the wheels as regards his findings on creating sculpture. But clearly, he has expanded the scope in the area of bronze casting, an aspect of sculpture indigenous to the Benin and dating back to many centuries.


  While sculptors and others who may be interested in the subject of facial expression on bronze casting are digesting Uwaifo's argument, there is also another aspect of his findings that concerns all, irrespective of medium. A life-size figure does not need a basement to stand, Uwaifo seems to be proving with his self-portrait. Standing with a guitar between its opened legs, the sculpture, glazed in cream colour, according to Uwaifo does not require a basement to stand properly. "With the weight evenly distributed to all the parts, it will stand properly," he insists.

  Perhaps, a sculpture, particularly of a standing figure placed indoor, does not require a basement. The same theorem or execution may not apply to an outdoor sculpture where wind and other hostile factors are in consideration. Again, Uwaifo's assertion and practicality offers a wider scope to bite, chew and spite as in number of issues raised in ‘Biomimetics of Sculpture…


  Shortly before leading his guests through the exhibits, the performing artiste in Uwaifo came alive: he mimed to the title track, and performed before a select audience, Mrs. Obaseki; former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba; Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Troupe, Akinsola Mendra Adejuwon, who represented the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, and former editor, The Guardian on Sunday, Jahman Oladejo Anikulapo, among others.

  A 120-page book that documents Uwaifo's biomimetics adventure - containing the process of creating the works - made the launch triple ceremony for the artist. 


  From being the Head of Department (Graphics) at Nigerian Television Service (NTV) now NTA) in 1964, Uwaifo has established himself on the Nigerian music industry with over 50 years of studio recording. With eight gold records, Uwaifo, also known as ‘The Guitar Boy,’ is recorded as the 'first African musician to win a Record Gold Disc in International Market in 1966. Among his biggest hits is Joromi, an evergreen track that has lasted over four generations in music appreciation.



Berthing Shonibare's Wind Sculpture VI in Lagos
Wednesday, 7 December 2016



British Deputy high Commission, Simon Shercliff (left) Director programs British Council, Louisa Waddingham; Director Visual Art British Council, Emma Dexter; representative of MD GTB Bank Babajide Sipe and the exhibiting artist, Yinka Shonibare MBE, during the exhibition in Lagos. 
By Tajudeen Sowole

When Nigerian-British artist, Yinka Shonibare (MBE) opened his exhibition, the ‘clique’ character in Lagos and Victoria Island art community shed its arrogant weight and moved to Ikeja, an unusual axis for art events. The occasion was a Lagos, Nigeria stopover for world tour exhibition of Shonibare's Wind Sculpture VI.

  Shonibare, one of African Diaspora's biggest art exports to the world has been touring cities with his new public space work, Wind Sculpture series since 2014. Currently, the sculpture, a six metre high, is on display at Ndubuisi Kanu Park, MORE.



Shifting Space in African Design With AAND

By Tajudeen Sowole
Courtesy of new generation of indigenous architects comes a shift from the intimidating textures of foreign designs such as the Gothic, Victorian and Portuguese, that have infested the Lagos architectural landscape over the centuries.
 
A section of works on display during the photography exhibition of AAND
 The architects: Tosin Oshinowo, Seun Oduwole and Papa Omotayo who just had a group photography exhibition of some designs, are projecting local contents via a professional gathering called African Alliance for New Design (AAND). On display inside WhiteSpace, Ikoyi, Lagos and presented in pictures of both finished and process imageries, the exhibition, which was organised as part of activities slated for Open House Lagos, basically, attempted to redefine African architecture along the local challenges of functionality.

  As far as African or native contents design becomes issue, Demas Nwoko, whose works are widely known to celebrate indigenous design remains an icon on the Nigerian architectural environment. But these new generation architects are taking the African architecture identity further into the future.

 The Nigerian architectural space has always been rich of creativity, but the issue of African originality would keep resurfacing. In fact, members of AAND have expanded the debate. Omotayo noted that being an African architect, "is to be knowledgeable enough to inspire your work." He argued that though indigenous architecture in Nigeria has been active in the past 20 years, "but it's just in recent times that we have been getting contents that connect with the people." He disclosed that the aim of AAND is to change perception that foreign architects are superior to local professionals." And looking into the future, the ultimate goal of the group "is to create new generation of architects."

 Really, is there any identity such as African architecture? Yes, there existed an identity, at least, in the pre-modern era, Oduwole, a Principal Architect at SI.SA stated during a phone chat about the mission of AAND. Historically, he explained how the various textures of architecture designs in Nigeria have been influenced, for example, in northern Nigeria by Sudanese culture and western part of the country by British colonial and Brazilian factors, of post-slave trade. He therefore argued that "African architecture only existed in pre-colonial period." 

 In redefining African contents, within the context of AAND context, materials, Oduwole disclosed that using materials comes as a vital outlet, particularly in the age of advancing technology. "We try to look at a lot of local and native materials like rock stones, and woods." He stressed that old materials can be used in modern ways. "You can have African contents using old materials."
 Between functionality and aesthetics, architecture appears to be struggling in striking a balance. But Oshinowo, a Principal Architect at cmDesign Atelier (cmD+A) said "architecture must have a purpose."  

  On African content, she warned that it does not necessarily has to be visual like creating native motifs or signs. She also noted that the environmental factors are crucial in defining African contents, "particularly ventilation in a tropical setting."

  Between the Nigerian architectural space and creative contents in public buildings, designers seem to have blurred the importance of art in visual context. Quite a lot of public buildings are desolate of art contents. For Oshinowo who has been involved in designing spaces for LagosPhoto Festival, her involvement in a current project at the ongoing Maryland Shopping Mall promises to make a lot of difference. "As architect, we are sculptors as well," she noted while displaying soft images of artist, Dudu Emmanuel's sculpture Give n' Take, a 10 x 8 meter piece as part of embellishments for the mall. 

 "Everybody in the project wanted to celebrate Nigerian contents," Oshinowo disclosed." Also involved in the Maryland Mall "is designer, Jade Folawiyo who brings ankara design for the lighting installation."

 For Omotayo, art has not been far from his design principles. In fact, he is the designer of two of the new generation art galleries in Ikoyi: Rele, at Onikan and Mode, Parkview Estate. "The architect forgets that he is first of all an artist," Omotayo argued and explained that "a building is though functional, but spiritual and art in content." 

 Via workshops and exhibitions, AAND members hope to engage young architects and other professionals in promoting the group's definition of African design contents.

 From the architects' bios: Oshinowo is a registered architect in Nigeria and since 2012 has been Principal Architect at cmDesign Atelier (cmD+A), an architecture design practice based in Lagos.
  She completed her architecture education at the prestigious Architecture Association London and also holds a Master's Degree in Urban Design from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. 

Oduwwole, a graduate of the University of Nottingham, his career was shaped by experience in leading UK firms such as Sir Michael Hopkins & Partners, Benoy and Sheppard Robson where he designed and executed award winning projects. He returned to Nigeria as founding partner at Brown inQ, before leaving to start SI.SA. 

 A RIBA graduate of the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, UK. Omotayo’s focus and current portfolio can be defined as an architecture searching to redefine a pragmatic African modernism through collaboration with contemporary artists. Papa desires to work with a strong focus on context, culture and nature, creating architecture that tries to give a little meaning to the everyday, beyond the realms of form, function and even technology.

(First published 9/7/2-12)
BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
Organised by Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN), a recent show at Omenka Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos, to mark World Interiors Day, art, craft and other areas of visual arts categorised as accessories in design exposed the economic paradox of Nigeria, where majority live in extreme poverty amidst vast riches of the country.

From paintings, miniature figural and abstract table pieces to ceramics and other works that either serve both decorative and functional purposes such as window blinds and mirrors, the show depict that even in the period of distress, luxury could be an elixir.

The show also offered an opportunity to appreciate the contribution of interior designers to the creative industry, especially in the areas of crafts and arts.
One of the works from IDAN
What exactly is World Interiors Day all about? As IDAN president, Anslem Tabansi explained, it’s a yearly global event initiated by the International Federation of Interior Architecture/Designers (IFI) to bring to the public the roles of practitioners in improving the environment.

Stressing the importance of artistic, clean and luxurious environment, courtesy of IDAN is not new. In 2008, when the group made its first public appearance, with a show tagged Focus On Interior Design at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, the aim was to bring practitioners together and regulate the practice of profession in the country. At that event, IDAN also showed that it was already recognised at the global level as the president of IFI, Mr. Shrikant Nivasarkar was present.

FOUR years after, IDAN, having consolidated on that feat, chose Finding The New In The Old as theme for its 2012 show.
Tabansi states, “the theme challenges practitioners to look at our past as we prepare for the future.”

Indeed, the theme is more relevant in Nigeria, particularly in the corporate sector and highbrow private residence, which have zero local or native content in the designs of office and residential interiors as well as tour destinations such as hotels.
  
SOME countries have certain aspects of their cultural heritage built into their interior designs. Is this not an indictment on IDAN members, most of whom have the chunk of their clients in the upper class and the corporate sector? Tabansi says, “designers would hardly force any style on anyone, as styles depend on one’s taste.” He explains, “we have people that prefer contemporary and those who go for neo-contemporary styles; it’s about one’s choice.” 

He also notes that one of the challenges designers face is that most of the materials used in the country are imported. This, he says, hinders putting concept of cultural value into their designs.
As professionalising designing through public enlightenment remains a challenge, the secretary general of IDAN, Titi Ogunfere, believes that with seminars and relevant forums, such as Industry Night, which IDAN looks forward to organising regularly, the public will get to appreciate the importance of a descent environment. She argues that interior design is not just everybody’s business, adding that no tertiary institution in Nigeria offers it as a course. 
Secretary-General of IDAN, Titi Ogunfere
 SOME of the objectives if IDAN mentioned in the group’s priority list include maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards of the profession through the education and training of practitioners; establish a training institute to deliver high-value business tools and address issues that affect practitioners; promote excellence in interior design through continuing professional development of practitioners; increase public awareness and promote the relevance of professionals in building the economic and cultural wealth of the Nigerian society.



(First published 30/11/2012)
By Tajudeen Sowole
(First published Tuesday, December 09, 2008)       
VISUAL artists, architects and others who have found love in interior decoration sub-section of art and design, may heave a sigh of relief as an umbrella for professionals of that breed makes its entry.
 On Thursday, December 4, at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, some professionals in the field of interior decoration came together to launch what they called, Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN). The new group, they said, came as a result of the need to regulate the practice of interior decoration in the country.
  Under the theme, Focus On Interior Design, 2008, the event also included what could be described as Nigeria's first interior design and decoration magazine, Essential Interiors.
  The group must have been attracting attention and getting recognition at the international level, even before its take off here. This much was seen as the president of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers, IFI, Mr. Shrikant Nivasarkar was present at the event.
  And before anyone concluded that IDAN could be just another group of people seeking relevance, just for the sake of it, one of the conveners, Titi Ogunfere stated that the basic reason for the formation of the association was to help provide a platform for the "regulation" of design profession in the country.
   She explained earlier before the event: "IDAN was established to promote the value of professional design by providing the appropriate platform for design professionals to lend a collective voice to government and industry initiative. The association also engendered the highest standards of practice through providing professional and educational training and networking for design practitioners."
Representatives of IDAN, Titi Ogunfere (left) and Moni Shonibare during a briefing, in Lagos

  Sandwiched between visual arts and architecture, really, this new association could have crisis on its hand, for example, in recommending standards for non-IDAN members such as visual artists and architects who do interior decoration. Also, codes of practice of each of these other older professional bodies such as Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) and others, which deal with areas of interior design, could bring about conflict of interests.
  Responding to this possible fear of identity crisis, the Chairperson of IDAN, Mrs. Moni Shonibare argued that artists and architects, who feel that there is something to benefit being a member, would rather belong. The bottom line, she explained, "is to gain credibility, which is what every professional would not compromise."
  Ogunfere who is also the Editor of Interior Essential, stressed that before the emergence of IDAN, there was no professionalism in the practice of design, noting that the situation was compounded by lack of regulation and legal frame works to enhance the profession. She also decried lack of interests by higher institutions of learning in the country towards interior design professions.
  To make the profession more attractive, a national network, Ogunfere said, is part of the group's priorities. "IDAN therefore stands to network the designers and decorators in each state of the federation while advocating support for the design community. IDAN also acts as a corporate contact point between the design profession and government to facilitate industry-wide initiatives. It fulfils other functions such as providing an organisational structure for networking of designers, linking Nigerian design professionals with international design organisations. And supporting the mentoring of students and new designers to create a solid foundation for the future strength of the profession"



(First published 29/9/2012)
Design and metal sculptural skills from Africa and Europe melt into creative enterprise as Lagos-based Svengali Designs and Turkish-owned Poliform jointly offer visual decorative and functional aesthetics.

The joint venture christened Svengali+Poliform is aimed at giving the Nigerian creative sector, particularly the architecture and construction industry a boost, designer and CEO of Svengali, Anslem Tabansi stated when the Turks partners visited his gallery in Lagos.

As the president of Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN), Tabansi has led the group to the international stage when it had its first exhibition in Lagos and hosted the president of the International Federation of Interior Designers, (IFI), Mr. Shrikant Nivasarkar.
Caglar Olcer of Poliform, Istanbul, Turkey (left), Anslem Tabansi of Svengali Designs, Lagos and founder of Poliform, Nejat Olcer in Lagos…recently
Caglar Olcer of Poliform noted that though the relationship between his group and Svengali is short, but strong enough to believe that the partnership will work. Olcer, accompanied by his father and founder of the Turkish group, Nejat Olcer said “we have always known Nigeria as a big economy in Africa, but not really sure of how to do business here until we met Anselm.”

In a joint statement, it is stated that Svengali and Poliform join forces for a new age in metal sculptural balustrade industry. The group hoped that “with competitive prices, short periods of delivery and continuous technical support, this new joint venture company will serve the latest” in state of the art sculptural metals for the functional and decorative sections of Nigeria’s design industry. 

Poliform, located in Istanbul, Turkey stated that for over 25 years, its signature has doted several developments in balustrade systems and sculptural metal door accessories.

Svengali is an interior design and wood/metal sculpture outfit with gallery in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Tabansi-led IDAN, few months ago, continued its efforts at promoting the design section of the creative industry when it organised a show at Omenka Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos to mark World Interiors Day. The show featured design pieces, art, craft and other areas of visual arts categorised as accessories in design parlance.
From paintings, miniature figural and abstract table pieces to ceramics and other works that either serve both decorative and functional purposes such as window blinds and mirrors, the show reflected the strong message that even in the period of distress, luxury could be an elixir.

Themed Finding The New In The Old, Tabansi stated, “the theme of the 2012 show challenges practitioners to look at our past as we prepare for the future.”

Indeed, the theme is more relevant in Nigeria, particularly in the corporate sector and highbrow private residence, which have zero local or native content in the designs of office and residential interiors as well as tour destinations such as hotels.

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