By Chukwuma Ajakah
As the lull created by the COVID-19 pandemic scare ebbs, the prestigious TY Workspace in Yaba, Lagos is set to assuage the thirst of art enthusiasts via a three-week joint exhibition, featuring the miniature artworks of Dr. Kunle Adeyemi and Dr. Aderinsoye Aladegbongbe of the School of Art, Yaba College of Technology.
During a press conference on Thursday, July 1 at the Yaba, the Curator, Mrs. Toyin Arowolo, revealed that the exhibition titled “Calibrated Hope” will run for three weeks, beginning with the opening ceremony scheduled for 11: 00 am, Thursday, July 8, 2021. She added that the exhibition space will hold daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Speaking on the motif of the exhibition, Dr. Aladegbongbe said: “We cannot overstate the importance of the visual art. The strength of the art is what is driving most businesses today. We are looking at a rekindled hope. That is why we are organizing this exhibition. Calibrated Hope is a season we use to see that hope is restored to the people. We put together titles that bring hope to people. It’s a spiritual landmark, guiding people to have solace in God that things will be better.”
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Dr. Aladegbongbe emphasized that “The production of the miniature works is intentional. Many people are going back to the European culture. We want art that must be affordable and kept in small rooms. Living rooms are no longer large because of the economy and people’s inclination to modern trends. There is need to minimize even the artwork. If it is affordable, many will buy. These are not just drawings and paintings, but spiritually and culturally inclined works that project our faith. The exhibition is an event that people can visit while on outings or from church.”
Explaining the basis for a joint exhibition, Dr. Adeyemi, a former Dean School of Art, Design and Printing at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, said: “There is strength in collaboration. We came together as lecturers to practice what we preach. We teach students what to do when they see what we do they will be motivated. When they see us as models, they will work smarter by being creative, believing that hard work pays. This will help to keep them off the ‘yahoo yahoo wealth’ syndrome. What we are doing is situated in a context.”
Adeyemi also commented on the deviation from the conventional medium: “This is the era of minimalism. We have worked also on ourselves, bringing out some of the things we were doing in the studio. We have created the miniatures intentionally. They are research works and therefore expandable. People can have these works which are not expensive. More importantly, they are designed to give renewed hope to people.” He added that the subject matters revolve around issues connected to faith, culture, religion and beliefs.
Adeyemi further stressed: “Calibrated Hope is our way of thanksgiving God that we survived the season we found ourselves in last year. It means there is hope for individuals, families, communities, fallen industries and nations. All is not ended. There is hope. As artists, we have to let people know that they have a renewed hope in any area that things have been down. Although public places such as the National Museum are moribund, places like TY Workspace are provided by individuals for us to enjoy arts. Nothing stops us from enjoying an art fair that encompasses all the arts including the theatre.”
With metal foil (mixed media) as their central medium, the art connoisseurs are jointly showcasing 50 works of diverse sizes. Dr. Aladegbongbe’s works include the following titles: Calibrated Hope, Army of Faith, Time to Fly, Manifestation, Love of God, Instrument of Praise, Ride of Victory, Crown Him, Oniduro (Guarantor), Both Directions, Inspiration of Praise, Queen Esther, Bridled Tongue, Coat of Many Colours, Hope Divulged and Progress. The dominant thematic preoccupation of Calibrated Hope includes religious faith, love, restoration, self-belief and cultural heritage.
The embedded messages are amplified in Dr. Adeyemi’s entries which include: Life is Full of Hills and Valleys, Balance and Harmony (in series I, II and III) Echo from Heaven, Power and Grace from Source, Aro meta kin (Collective synergy, the three pillars), Growth and Development, Streams of Knowledge, Aerial View of Three Communities, Strength in Unity, Jakan-Agbada Embroidery Series II, Engraved and Indelible Memories, Fertility and Male and Female He Made Them (Fruitfulness).
The Curator gave insight into what art lovers should expect at the exhibition: “This is creativity at its best. I thank God that the artists have been able to think out of the box despite their busy work schedule to put up an exhibition like this. A lot of work and late nights have gone into this. The first time we hosted Dr. Adeyemi and Dr. Aladegbongbe four years ago, one of the things Dr. Adeyemi wanted was arts that are affordable. Art is one sector that generates huge revenue. We have enough materials to keep us away from oil as the mainstay of the national economy. A lot of people are in despair. We are looking forward to having people from all walks of life, students and government representatives. Art exhibition is one right place to bring people out to enjoy and see what God given skills have brought.”
Calibrated Hope is to be held under the distinguished chairmanship of Chief Dolapo Balogun and Mr. Dele Awosika, the Managing Director of Adeline Gallery as Special Guest of Honour.