By JAPHET ALAKAM
In line with its mission to uphold excellence and ensure the highest professional standards in the practice of Visual Art in Nigeria, The Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) Lagos last week opened her maidenÂ exhibition of Water Colours, Pastels and Drawings.
The exhibition which opened on Saturday, August 14 at The Ben Enwonwu Foundationâ€™s Omenka Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos and ended on August 21Â was meant to give artists who are good in such arts the opportunity to showcase their skills and craftsmanship to the world.
According to Oliver Enwonwu who doubles as the Executive Director of BEF and Chairman of SNA, Lagos chapter, the body of artists in collaboration with BEF embarked on the project following the realisation that traditional painting mediums such as oil and more recently acrylic, take precedence and are more valued by collectors.
According to him, â€œDrawing is rarely appreciated as a finished art form in Nigeria and is often reduced to preparatory sketches for oil paintings and sculptures while water colour and pastel paintings have not fared much better in comparison to the more traditional painting mediums like oil and recently acrylic.â€
Continuing Enwonwu stated that â€œthe exhibition aims to uphold the value and uniqueness of these other delicate art forms – water colour, pastel and drawing. It will also celebrate and encourage artists whose skills and craftsmanship lie in these forms of representation.â€
Featuring about 40 selected artistic works that brought out the creative skills of some members of the association thus justifying the purpose of the exhibition as the works were some of the very best in their collections. And viewing through the works displayed at the hall was indeed a delight as art patrons and other guest present were not disappointed with the mix of colours .
Commenting about the quality of works exhibited Enwonwu again stated that some of the works submitted wereÂ the very best as many were turned down. According to him an action that arose because â€œwe had a jury that selected the works and when you want to get the best, it encourages standard, and when you have a jury it encourages professionalism.â€ So those artists whose works were not selected will go home and put their house in order so that they will come out with a better work next time. The exhibition is one out of the series of exhibitions organised by the body and it is going to be an annual event.
Some of the works featured includes: The Kings Guard, Pastel on paper by Oliver Enwonwu, Friends, chalk, pastel on paper by Adeniyi Adedapo, Feminine by Adesoye Godwin, Pathway, water colour by Imoesi Imhonige, I Can do it by Kelani Abass, The Benin Rhythm( My Heritage) by Odozi Iyase Tessy, At a setting by Kolawole Olojo-Kosoko, Purity by Dotun Alabi, Affectionate(11) by Oguntmehin Ariyo and Woman by Ola Balogun, amongst others .
Speaking about some of the works, young and award winning Kelani Abass who submitted the work titled I can do it ,a painting with pastel said that the story of his life informed the theme of the work. And it shows that you can go as far as anything to achieve greatness. That we should stop dreaming and imagining.
For Oliver Enwonwuâ€™s The King’s Guard, a work facilitated by potraiture, â€œI always capture a lot of faces because I believe faces tell a lot of stories. The image shows the face , the toughness and the loyalty of the guard. The strength in his character are some of the things I tried to capture and it is memorable.â€
Affectionate according to Oguntimehin Ariyo shows the bond between a mother and her child, an attribute that is missing in our life this days where most parents do no longer have time for their children. But the work shows a woman who cares for her child playing with her baby. While Imoesi Imhonige in aÂ water colour painting titled Pathway tries to remind Nigerians of the need to plant trees as a way of cushioning the effects of the climatic change on the environment.