By Prisca Sam-Duru
It is one thing to be talented, and another to have a viable platform on which the talent will be showcased to the world. Six emerging female artists namely; Blossom Oyeyipo, Pamela Oma, Donna Duke, Zida Kalu, Fiyin Koko and Nneoma Ndukwe, last week in Lagos, scaled through the lack of space hurdle to showcase their ingenuity in visual art.
Their self-efforts birthed a 2-day visual art show titled “The Noire Exhibition: Celebrating the Growth of Black Female Artists”. The exhibition which held at Were Studio, Lekki, Lagos on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th December, 2020, featured breath-taking works of the six artists mostly produced in 2020.
Riding on the opportunity to interpret the theme in a style most unique to them, each artist, through diverse mediums and subtitles, attempts to bring out the best of the black continent and her people.
Blossom Oyeyipo, a trained Builder and self-taught artist uses variety of media such as ink, pastels and acrylic to create informative pieces on topical issues especially those related to body dysmorphia, feminism, colorism etc. Very emotive is Blossom’s series on “Struggling Artist”. Through “Struggling Artist”- Tryptich 1, a piece featuring a young female figure in a brooding position with colourful flowers at the background she captures her experiences and those of other young artists who hunger for opportunities to break even and flaunt their talents to the world.
Pamela Oma, a digital designer currently exploring different aspects of design especially illustration and brand design, has her love for beauty and attention details, reflecting in her works. Interestingly, Pamela’s major tool is her laptop with which she manipulates shapes, and texts, employing Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop software. Exhibited by Pamela where, “We all Get Flowers”, “Beautiful Chaos”, “Distorted Reality”, and “Who is Reading Anyway?”
Donna Duke, daughter of the former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke, is a mixed media portrait painter based in Lagos. As a self-taught artist who began painting at age five, Donna primarily focused on cubism and surrealism until she was 16. Employing acrylic, oil, metal and 24k gold leaf and resin, she combines the technical style with a collage of traditional West African fabric on wooden panels. At the core of her amazing body of work, is the determination to create an ever-changing commentary on the black experience by expressing emotional thought physically. Her colourful and clear images, “Ojongo”, “Pragma”, “The Beautiful Sufferer”, “Okay”, “Crimson and Clover” and, “Till Life do us Part”, tell the tale of love, togetherness and hope even in daunting situations. “Pragma”, (oil, Acryllic, Metal leaf on canvas), a portrait displaying two human faces in a romantic entanglement she explained, “Is all about enduring love, that’s a piece that’s very soft, I wanted to represent something I want in my life; friendships, relationships, delicate, considerate and care, not necessarily one person relying on the other as seen in most marriages but one of mutual understanding and togetherness”.
The initiator of The Noire Exhibition, Zida Kalu is a portrait and abstract digital artist. Her works are greatly inspired by colours and black women. She displays women as powerful, tireless, and versatile whose beauty can be expressed in uncountable forms. Her portraits most times, express emotion that can be perfectly interpreted but her abstract pieces, mostly created using line, geometric shapes, unexplainable forms and a wide range of vibrant colour themes are used to create pieces that have different meanings to different people and sometimes, no meaning at all, just pleasing. Twelve of her works; “Emily Got A Rose” (produced from Zida’s Mom’s old photograph), “Honey”, “Get Married they Said”, “Charis”, “Julieta”, “Where Souls Rest”, etc, were on display during the 2-day event. Her colourful abstract piece titled, “Sweet September” she explained, remains a special piece because it got her out of the artist’s block during the period of lockdown.
On the essence of the exhibition, she disclosed that “I came up with the idea and reached out to the other artists. I just wanted to put female artists in the limelight because we are not showcased as we ought to be. So this is celebrating black female artists and letting the world know that we’ve got talent”.
Fiyinfoluwa Tunde Onadele known as Fiyin Koko, is a figurative artist and painter. Her works are inspired by all facets of Womanism and encapsulate the unerring beauty of the Black Woman. She expresses the women’s feminine resilience in a delicate, often humourous, and ethereal style. Her stunning works, “Abefe”, “Ore”, “Ejima”, “Ina”, Marun, “Mefa”, and “Talkbox” all attest to that unique style. “I focus a lot on symbolism so, something must always mean something. So the apple is fruitfulness, growth and that’s the theme for my collection in the exhibition”, she said concerning the apple that is seen in all her works.
Nneoma Ndukwe, a Lawyer and Arbitrator and a multidimensional artist believe art is an expression of self through different mediums such as digital art and painting. One of her works titled, “Kaizen & Shoshin”, represents her strong sense of expression and uniqueness as well as mannerism with digital art with a focus on abstract. “Kaizen & Shoshin”, (Digital art on Canvas fine-coated with epoxy), has five human figures with shapeless heads painted in white upon a dark-brown colour with white lines. This work tells multiple stories as do most of her works.