Besides Ojo’s work, two other artworks stood out amongst the lot – “Pure Bliss” by Omoniyi Gabriel and “Suffering and Smiling” by Onyinye Ezennaya’s.
Explaining his work, Omoniyi said the painting, titled “Pure Bliss”, is centered around a lady that experienced a sudden and long-awaited miracle in an unexpected way. “At the sound of the good news, the kind of excitement and joy that emanates from within her is like one full of bliss and purity in which the painter, through the use of thick layers of colours and textures, arouse deep emotions in the contemplator. It’s a way of telling those who are discouraged that there is hope for the future.”
For Onyinye Ezennaya, “Suffering and Smiling” is done in nails and string on board. It portrays those silently in pain but put on smiling faces. The work highlights the myriads of challenges facing womanhood as portrayed by the dripping threads. These challenges could be cultural, political, financial, marital or religious. The message is, whatever it may be, there’s hope on the horizon, depicted by her steady gaze as she fights to raise her voice and stand up for herself despite her struggles.
“The interwoven colourful layers of threads on nails is used to form the smiling face, yet in pain, to encourage others to be and do their best. My style is dynamic, focusing on giving voice to those unheard, especially vulnerable women and children. My artworks evoke emotions drawn from my experiences in my environment – especially strong influences from my Igbo culture.”