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Alexis Galleries returns with Knock on Wood

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By Osa Amadi, Arts Editor

After what seems to art lovers as a very long holiday, Alexis Galleries, which has become one of the most prolific art exhibiting houses and number one mentor of visual artists in Nigeria, returns with Knock on Wood  opening from Saturday 14-26 September, 2019 at their 282 Akin Olugbade Gallery, Victoria Island, Lagos.

L-R (Standing): Udemma Chukwuma, art journalist; David Taiwo Olatunde, artist; Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, curator & CEO, Alexis Galleries & the Home Stores Ltd; and Chukwuemeka Michaels Osisiego, artist. (Sitting from L-R): Yemi Aileru, Program Manager of Child Life Line (CLL); Mrs. Sally Udoma, President, CLL; and Aduke Gomez, member of CLL Exco, during the press preview of Knock on Wood exhibition at Alexis Galleries last Friday in Lagos.

The Knock on Wood exhibition is the outcome of a residency organised in May this year by Alexis for six young artists who produced splendid artworks, all in wood medium.

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“I am tired of seeing residencies where people come and paint,” the ever-innovative founder, director, and curator of Alexis Galleries, Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis had told Vanguard at the end of that residency. “I thought that we could do something different.

And wood is a beautiful medium. I love wood myself. So I thought: Why not help young artists?  She said the title Knock on Wood is derived from the Bible. “When Jesus died, people were touching the wood of his cross and they were healed. So today, when we want to say something and we don’t want somebody to give us the bad luck, we touch wood.”

The group exhibition of wood etching sponsored by Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano and Delta Airline, will feature Samuel Tete-Katchan, Chukwuemeka Michaels Osisiego, David Taiwo Olatunde, Kelvin Chukwudi Ubani, Francis Agemo and Darlington A. Chukwumezie. Osisiego who spoke to Vanguard  said his style of art in this medium as cubism on wood, while Olatunde said his own style is deep etching on wood.

As helping NGOs and charitable organisations in Nigeria has become its tradition, Alexis is partnering with Child Life Line, an NGO whose objective is to get as many kids as possible off the streets. Part of the proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to Child Life Line.

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Mrs. Sally Udoma, President of Child Life Line, an organisation whose annual budget runs in average of N24 million, told Vanguard Newspaper that the number of kids on the streets in Nigeria is not likely going  to reduce, given the economic state of the country. More funding is therefore needed at the charitable organisation. Mrs. Sally’s mother, Marion Sikuade, founded   Child Life Line 25 years ago.

Also speaking with Vanguard, Mrs. Aduke Gomez, member of Child Life Line Executive Council, said art has been a very important medium of expression at Child Life Line as elsewhere. Many of the deep emotions children cannot couch in words are often vented through arts. She said an art teacher used to come to the centres to teach the children. Program Manager of Child Life Line, Yemi Aileru disclosed that the organisation has seen some homeless kids they picked from the streets up to the university level of education.

Child Life Line seeks to reconnect street kids with their family and get them back into school or vocational training. Their daytime reception centre for boys and girls at Gbagada provides two meals a day, a place to shower and wash, counselling and family tracing. At their residential home for boys in Ikorodu, children are put back into full-time education or vocational training and cared for until they can be reunited with their families or until they complete their chosen course of study or training.

Knock on Wood exhibition is curated by the CEO Alexis Galleries and The Home Stores Ltd, Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis.


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