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Tolulope Okunlola in audacious exploit

To achieve something remarkable and attain to a greater height in life, a man needs to work extra miles and risk taking cannot be avoided.

This gave me the conviction that to get rich, you have to do something that you were not taught in school…. Or else everybody who graduated would have been rich, thus, are the sayings of a visual artist, Tolulope Michael Okunlola who dared into the unknown in a bid to create a spectacular art piece called wire works.

‘Audacious’ is an exhibition of wire paintings ti unveil on Saturday, August 18, to run till 24th in National Museum Onikan, Lagos. Special guests that will declare it open are Shola Olamakinde, Director, De-Arts Place, Time Emmanuel, Dotun Alabi, former SNA chairman, Lagos State as chief host while special gust of honour is Richard Bello.

Okunlola who unveiled his exhibition titled ‘wire works’ to pressmen recently said, “I discovered my artistic potential when I was seven (7) years old. Although my mother tried to discourage me from this vocation but all to no avail. She wanted me to become a magistrate. I used to be punished for creating drawings in my exercise books when I was in primary school. It was my aunt’s husband that advised my mother to desist from such when I got to secondary school.

“My ambition to become a prolific artist developed when I became a student at the Oyo state College of Education (now Emmanuel Alayande college of Education), and progressed to Obafemi Awolowo university (OAU) to develop myself further which introduced me to various media like oil color, sand of different colors, Acrylic, beads, tiles, pastel, etc for painting and it really helped in developing and influencing my thematic subjects.

Okunlola described his new discovery as a daring risk that turned to an excitement. He achieved an unknown task by exploring materials that ordinarily wouldn’t cross the mind of an artist unless a creative hands that wants to be different.

“My desire for a different media of expression from the conventional ones mentioned above drove me to explore various materials both locally made and imported.

I stumbled on a beautiful effect while using carpets to carry out a mixed media which eventually influenced my final year project when I used the same carpet to form a mosaic painting titled “ Ode a fi file P’erin” (Hunters that kills an elephant with a cap). Meaning: the hunter that kills an elephant in a day but is filled with pride, will not be hailed for too long.

“After graduation, I attended various workshops, some devoted to craft making. It was during one of such workshops that I observed Mr. Ojeniran Michael using wire to create jewelries of  various colors. This implanted an idea of using various wires of different colors to create my art.

Undaunted to achieve uniqueness with materials, Okunlola did not mind how much it could cost him to produce a desired piece of art  in his mind. He however, resulted in saving every penny he got from teaching job, using it to acquire copper wires and working tools which he revealed were expensive.

“The high cost of the copper wires were a major set back for me but with the determination over the years, I have been able to sustain it as a medium of expression, hence the title of my show “Audacious”, because it took all I had to be where I am today despite all odds.

“My first painting “ the birth of wire”, was deeply personal in several ways as I imagined how the start of this adventure would be. A typical mother and child painting, I saw myself as a child in a new world with so much possibilities and seize the moment to create other works.

Today, Tolulope has set a new record in materia usage in art, using copper wires of different sizes and colours to render in hues artworks that will staff the test of time. Perhaps, one major area of exploration for him is converting the success of copper wire materials into suggestive themes.


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