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Kolade Oshinowo decries decline in creativity, marks 70th birthday

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The veteran artist, Kolade Oshinowo has decried the situation whereby young contemporary artists cannot generate fantastic ideas due to technology. He said that artists have become somewhat copycats using phone cameras to snap images and enhancing it which is devoid of original creative ideas that can be generated through eye contacts and visual rendition of artworks.

*From left: Bimbo Adenugba; Chinyere Ndubuisi, HOD, Fine Arts, (Yabatech); Kunle Adeyemi, Dean, School of Art, Design & Printing, (Yabatech); Oliver Enwonwu, President, SNA; Kolade Oshinowo; Dotun Alabi, Chairman, SNA Lagos; Dr. Ademola Azeez; Dr. (Mrs) Awom; Bunmi Davis and others at the unveiling of Kolade Oshinowo @70 celebration in Lagos.

Speaking during a press briefing to announce activities streamlined to mark his 70th year celebration, Oshinowo said young artists are not excelling as they should because of this short cut practice which was not so in the past. He said that Ben Enwonwu, Uche Okeke, Yusuf Grillo, Bruce Onobrakpeya and others, were able to stand out due to original practice of studio drawings, life paintings, outdoor paintings and serious studio practices.

But he said he isn’t disappointed yet, because some have stood out, toeing the line of the masters in drawing workshops and other programmes. He however, challenged young artists to braze the odd and follow the due process of art practice which is the only way to attain height and be successful in the art industry.

He further disclosed that he intends to establish an award for best drawings as part of his 70th year celebration and also as one who has benefited from rudimental art practice through drawing.

Fielding questions on record keeping of transition in art practice through published books, Oshinowo said that his main focus has been on studio practice and not printed materials.

But he was quick to add that catalogue of art exhibitions and workshops are available for researchers and public consumption which he said he encourages rather than writing book about himself. He said he is not an author but a fulltime studio artist who writers admire to write about. He disclosed that a book on him will be unveiled which says much about his input in the industry.

“When people call me prolific, I just laugh because I know that I am not. All I know is that I am working, very restless and ever working. I am glad that some young artists have overtime got connected to my volume of works which also give insight of who I am. One thing I have ever maintained is non-repetition of exhibited works in a fresh exhibition. When I display about 50 works on any exhibition, that shows I have over 100 works waiting. That is me. I can’t slow down except if age disagrees with me. Even the masters, when they were old, they were aided either with raised brush or assisted pallet to paint. They never got tired because they always have something to tell through their works. They want to say it fast before the sun sets. That’s the life of an artist.”

The month of February has been fixed to celebrate the master artist. Events lined up to celebrate this icon include a three-day workshop organised by Professor Peju Layiwola at the Women and Youth Art Foundation, Surulere. This will be followed by Kolade Oshinowo: Life before the artist, organised by Olu Ajayi, a former chairman, SNA, Lagos, followed by Art Stampede in honour of Oshinowo.

There will also be an art exhibition tagged Living Legend: a Tribute to Kolade Oshinowo by the School of Art design and printing, Yaba College of Technology. An international conference featuring papers from various intellectuals who will attempt to unravel Oshinowo, the man and his art, will also hold, followed by a gala night to round off the programme.


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