By Prisca Sam Duru
AN exhibition featuring four foremost and apparently oldest visual artists in Nigeria opened penultimate week at TERRA Kulture, Victoria Island as part of activities that marked the nation’s 50th anniversary.
Declaring the exhibition titled “An evening with the Masters”, open, the founder of Terra Kulture Mrs. Austen – Peters stated that her organization decided to commemorate the Nation’s golden jubilee anniverssary in a grand style by showcasing works of celebrated great artists Nigeria has produced to prove how well improved is the art industry.
According to the Terra Kulture boss, the older artists need to be encouraged through exhibition of this nature so as to keep alive their relevance in the industry as well as serving as footprints for emerging artists.
Except for Abayomi Adebayo Barber who was unavoidably absent at the opening ceremony, the other three masters, Prof. Alade Glover, Dr. Bruce Onobrakpeya and Kolade Oshinowo, all concurred to the fact that the efforts made by Terra Kulture to bringing together older artists to showcase the versatility and diversity of their artistic gifts.
The elder artists further expressed the need for continued encouragement from corporate bodies to save their kind of arts which has always been rich in the preservation of the socio-cultural aspects of the African Continent from extinction.
A total of 39 works of the grand masters were on display at the exhibition hall of Terra Kulture with Kolade Oshinowo, who has held a total of 22 one-man and over 90 group exhibitions of his works within and outside the country, presenting the highest number.
He was followed by Accra born professor, Ablade Glover trained in Ghana, Britain and USA, with accumulated number of distinctions and Dr.Bruce Onabrakpeya, the 2009 recipient of a Master of the Council of Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria who acquired his training at home and in the USA both presented 10 works each, and 7 from Abayomi Barber, the unassuming multi talented painter and sculptor whose works are influenced by the environment he grew up.
Employing different media ranging from oil on canvas, oil on board, mixed media, bronze foil, plastocast, additive plastograph and acrylic on paper these artists captured diverse human activities, moods in nature, pre-colonial African lifestyle and proved that, that indeed they are dexterous designers whose artistic prowesses cut across at least seven decades.
Sub-titles of works on display were: ‘Garden of Eden’, ‘Sunset’, ‘Barbling Brook’, ‘Lion King’, ‘Rock Scape’ and ‘Are you there’ (all by Abayomi Barber); ‘Red Profile’, ‘Market Profile’, ‘Pregnant Profile’, ‘Yellow Forest’, ‘Prayer Ascending I’, ‘Market Tempo II’, ‘Night Carnival’, ‘Prayer Ascending II’, ‘Beach Holiday’ and ‘Market Tmpo I’ by Alade Glover.
Other titles included: ‘Ibiebe’ (Alphabets on the wall), ‘Dance in the Bush’, Large Birds’ and ‘Images’, ‘Eshe I’, ‘Eshe II’, ‘Three Mask Pillars’, ‘Atasa Series’ (panel I) and ‘Dance to Enchanting Songs’ being works by Dr. Bruce Onabrakpeya and others…
The motivating factors cum high level of creativity portrayed by the neatness and mature presentation of works by these icons clearly showed the fact that it took time, patience, energy, dexterity and creativity to conquer whatever hindrance old age and economic downturn presented during these artistic production.
The most expensive works on display at the exhibition titled, ‘Eyo Masquerade’ oil on board by Kolade Oshinowo took a period of ten years to complete, while that ‘Dance to Enchanting Songs’, oil on canvas by Dr. Bruce Onabrakpeya which remains one of his most recent works was presented for sale for a whooping N4.7M.