By Osa Mbonu
She was trained as a Bio-Chemist, but she chose to be a textile artist. Her brand name is Moolori Wearable Art, and she is on the verge of showcasing her works in an exhibition titled REMILEKUN. Morenikeji Badmus spoke with OSA MBONU, the Arts Editor of Vanguard, about her works and the up-coming exhibition in Lagos:
You have many beautiful designs on fabrics here; did you make them?
Thanks. Yes, these are my works. I am a textile artist. I design textiles. I draw on textiles.
Tell us about it; is it what they call tie and dye?
There is tie and dye, and there is batik. I do both. But for me to be able to put a pattern on a plain fabric, I have to do the batik which involves drawing a pattern on the fabric before dyeing it. If an idea occurs to me, I usually first capture it on paper as a sketch before transferring it to a fabric. But my sketches are just rough ideas of what I actually want to put on fabrics.
Must you draw directly on the textile to make the prints?
What if you want to produce about 1000 clothes?
I have to draw the designs on the fabric one-by-one. That’s why it is handmade.
That should make them more expensive
Yes, sure it does. Handmade products are more expensive than mass-produced ones.
How did you come into this art – by formal training, or by apprenticeship?
I was trained at the Nike Art Gallery, Osogbo. But before that, I studied Bio-chemistry at Achievers University, Owo (2009-2013). It was my passion for the art that led me into it. When I was in school, my parents always allowed me to take part in art exhibitions and all that. I was lucky to have met Nike, Tola Wewe, and a couple other artists, who inspired me and made me realize that art is really fun and something one with talent could make money from.
So how did you set up this studio and shop?
It may interest you to know that I started what you are seeing here with only N20, 000. I have not become a multi-millionaire yet, but I am satisfied with the progress I have made so far. That’s why I am planning to hold an exhibition of my works. I have been searching for galleries that would be willing to unveil my works, but many of them appear not to be interested. However, I have found one – 21B Eleganza Gardens, opposite Victoria Garden City (VGC), Lekki Epe, Lagos. The exhibition which has the theme, REMILEKUN, comes up on December 23, 2018. The aim is to showcase my works to people and get them to appreciate my art.
Is that all you want to achieve with the exhibition – appreciation?
You know, people are familiar with paintings and sculptures, but when it comes to wearable arts, many people don’t really appreciate them as full-fledged works of art. So, we are trying to change such perspectives; what I am doing is to incorporate our cultural heritage into the urban fashion. We also want to impress it on people that they don’t necessarily have to hang their artworks on the walls; they can wear them; that way, they become functional arts.
Now, what is your ultimate aspiration?
I want my brand – MOOLORI WEARABLE ART – to be well-known globally and as a brand that showcases the Yoruba cultural heritage.