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By Prisca Sam-Duru

Stunning art pieces by art grandmasters in the likes of the iconic painter, Kolade Oshinowo, Nigerian-American scholar and painter, Professor Dele Jegede; Prof. Abayomi Barber, renowned painter, Abiodun Olaku and many more, are currently adorning the walls and floors of Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi Lagos.

In addition to works by these art grandmasters, beautiful exhibits by masters and emerging artists totalling over eighty, are also sharing the same space in the 2021 October Rain exhibition.

Organised by the Lagos State Chapter of the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), in collaboration with Mydrim Gallery and Omooba Yemisi Shyllon Art Foundation, OYASAF, the exhibition with the theme, “Art as A Glorious Passion”, opened on Sunday, October 3rd 2021 and runs till October 16, 2021.

This year’s October Rain featuring colourful works in diverse art genres with different messages embedded, is celebrating art and passions in glorious style with its historic juried exhibition. The exhibition is also taking place in honour of Nigeria’s most dedicated art collectors, Omooba Yemisi Shyllon

“Somewhere in Oyingbo”, acrylic on canvas, Size 92 by 112 cm, is a masterpiece by Iconic painter, Kolade Oshinowo now showing in the exhibition. The 2005 image portrays a market scene with women displaying their wares and probably calling for patronage.

Quite a stunning piece by a pro! The three images in the art work shield themselves with umbrellas while bright golden colour surround the entire background indicating a sunny weather; speaking volumes of the artist’s eye for detail.

While the 2021 painting titled “My Ancestral Feel”, depicting a community surrounded by beautiful landscape with several activities going on, is an oil on canvas, Size 76 by 127cm piece by Kolawole K. Olojo-Kosoko, projects a feeling of communal life, “Crises of A Nation”, a 2020 mixed media 41 by 43 work produced by Ogunkunle Nyi, presents the mood of a bleeding nation. It artistically encapsulates some of the dark aspects of Nigeria’s history.

With multiple colours; prominent being bright red colour splashed on ‘October 2020 ENDSARS’ protest; strokes and colour palette mostly drippings, the artist boldly captures wicked acts by terrorists in the country, June 12, etc.

The major unrest Niyi explained, began on June 12, 1993, when the military junta of Gen Ibrahim Babangida annulled the widely accepted free and fair presidential election believed to have been won by late Chief M.k.o Abiola. During the unrest, a lot of properties were destroyed and many Nigerians lost their lives.

The tension created by the June 12 crisis subsided following General Abdulsalam Abubakar’s handing over of power to a democratically elected president- Chief Olusegun  Obasanjo in 1999.

 However, the situation becomes bad as President Goodluck Jonathan succeeded Obasanjo and his tenure was made ungovernable by Boko Haram and fuel crisis.

Fed up with living in abject poverty and high level of brutality unleashed on the masses by uniformed officers, young Nigerians stormed the streets in 2020, birthing the ENDSARS protest. And according to the artist, “This unrest continues till present moment”.

Briefing the press earlier in Lagos, SNA Lagos Chapter Chairman, Prince Kolawole K. Olojo-Kosoko stated that the exhibition is conceived to be juried adding that a panel of jurors was set up to ensure total featuring of quality and original entries.

The theme for this year’s art feast, he said, is targeted at two vital missions. The first is to celebrate visual art professionals in Nigeria who continually achieve creative greatness despite all odds; and secondly, to worthily honour one of Nigeria’s most ravenous art collectors, Omooba Yemisi Shyllon.

Prince Olojo-Kosoko explained that “For years now, SNA-Lagos has been at the vanguard of celebrating selected Nigerian art personalities through her annual juried exhibitions known as October Rain. This year, the Society decided to go a little further by paying a special homage to a very important arm in the organigram of the extended art family — the collectorate!”

Also speaking, the Chairman, October Rain 2021 Planning Committee, Damola Adepoju explained that the exhibitors can be categorized into four strata, which include: legends, fellows, masters and fast-rising young artists.

The reason for the universality of participation according to him, “Is due to the fact that SNA is the umbrella body for visual artists in Nigeria and the Diaspora. We are also assuring all and sundry that the interest of our new generation artists is paramount to us”.

“Our choice for celebrating a compendium of dogged artists and one super collector is born of the fact that we identify that it takes a lot of passions to create arts, especially consistently -just as it entails a different level of emotional attachment to religiously collect and promote art, especially in a third world country like Nigeria”, Adepoju said.

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