Nigeria

We capture the essence of all emotions through art — Gbadebo and Atunbi

By Chukwuma Ajakah

Two young Nigerian visual artists, Oluwaseyi Gbadebo and Ola Atunbi, are set to give art lovers a treat as they parade their collection of works in an exhibition titled: Entrance.

According to a joint statement released by the duo and the curator of Quintessence Gallery, Moses Ohiomokhare on Wednesday, 12th September, 2018, the event is scheduled to hold at the prestigious Moor House Hotel, Ikoyi from Saturday, the 22nd of September through Friday, October 5, 2018.

The Curator, Moses Ohiomokhare gives an insight into the event: “Entrance is an exhibition of works that tend to harmonise dreams and reality. The works are surrealistic, but bringing calmness to the viewer. This exhibition is a breath of fresh air.” The avid art promoter explains that the way the artists interpret the operation of their minds is no surprise, noting that they operate from the same studio, ‘House of Bezalel’ and had studied in the same university.  Oluwaseyi and Ola graduated from the Fine and Applied Arts department of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso.

According to the artists, Eternal Entrance comes with a central message, See Behind the Veil which is embedded in most of the artworks. About 30 works will be featured on the occasion with each artist presenting 15 collections. The works include Ojukori, Olaore, He Shall Establish, Aimokan(Innocence), Itewogba(Agreement), In Him Is Strength, Ojulari,  Irapade, Secret Traveller, Mystic Journey, Spirit Exchange, The Diviner, The Prophesy,The Split, The Covenant, Forge of Sons, Fall of Scythe, Sweet Influences, Sitted Being and The Harvest: Cycles and Codes.

Between 2016 and 2018, Ola Atunbi has over 30 works that are crafted in mixed media-acrylic, charcoal, graphite, water colour and ink on cold pressed paper.

Oluwaseyi had his maiden exhibition in 2005 at a church- organised event, Genesis, which held at Ikorodu. In 2014, he featured in a number of group exhibitions including the famous Benin Igue Festival, Arrow in the Art (Benin) and Mandela through the Eyes of a Nigerian Artist (Lagos). The artist participated in Beyond All Odds, an exhibition held under the auspices of Alliance Francaise, Ibadan in 2015. The same year, he had a solo exhibition tagged Synonyms at the Quintessence Art Gallery, Ikoyi.

Before going into full time as a studio artist, Ola had worked as a freelance graphic artist. His works featured in the 2015 art fair sponsored by the British-American Council, Abuja. Ola’s collections for the upcoming exhibition include Itowegba, which tells the story of a young girl who recovers from a bout of self-inflicted identity crisis and escapist lifestyle to embrace her real essence, and In Him is Strength, which depicts the indispensability of God in man’s quest for success.

The artist hinges his inspiration on divine revelations which motivate him to help others see beyond the veil. “I draw a world of line, form and colour using invincible ink,” he says. “My instrument is no more than a speck of consciousness like a pencil point moving across a blank sheet of paper… everything pours out of that single point; could anything be more mysterious, and at the same time miraculous?”

Describing their genre as surreal with a touch of realism, Ola explains that they “capture the essence of all emotions through art. Essence is the real thing. Every person is searching for something in order to fill a void in life. One needs to embrace spirituality, purpose and identity.” The artist states that his artworks encapsulate personal and vicarious experiences, adding that for a time, he understood the craft, but didn’t find identity as a human being. “Things changed the moment I found out who I am.”

Using one of the works titled The Split, Oluwaseyi observes “there is a split between the realities that contend in man. The inner consciousness is endless, the inner man has to relate with God to find real identity and full expression.”

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