•One of the exhibiting artists, Abisola Gbadamosi, explaining her work to a guest.
By Osa Amadi
Closing its eventful art appreciation year, Art Pantheon brings shades of artists, into a single space for aesthetics and critical engagement of art lovers.
In the last five months, Art Pantheon has proven to be uncommonly active, showing three exhibitions, almost back-to-back, with premium quality art pieces from artists across the contemporary Nigerian cadres.
Building on that foundation of showing quality art, Art Pantheon closes year 2021 with A Room With All Our Things, a group exhibition of the artworks by Toju Clarke, Abisola Gbadamosi, Tolulope Daramola, Paul Ayihawu and Samuel Vittu.
The exhibition opens on Sunday, 12, December showing till December 26, 2021 from 10 am-6 pm daily and 12 noon-6 pm on Sundays. The venue is The Art Pantheon Gallery, 12D Bosun Adekoya Street, Oniru, Lagos.
The exhibition is open to the public with strict adherence to the Lagos State Government safety protocols on COVID-19.
Nana Sonoiki, director/curator of The Art Pantheon Gallery, said the exhibition offers a room of varied presences, moods and effects. She noted that the exhibition makes apparent what a shared space of mutual recognition and consolation can be, probing into the possibilities such a space can unlock.
In her curatorial note, Sonoiki captured each artist’s skills, in critical and aesthetics values: “Toju Clarke, a painter who employs sgraffito (a technique of scratching) to his canvases, shows works that utilise muted tones of brown, gold and black to depict attitudes and states of mind. Shadows and scratches lend depth and a convincing air to the faces of his subjects. With intense gazes, deep joy, and torrid aspects, the paintings take a grip of us and do not let go easily; they go with us even after we’ve turned away from the canvas.
“Abisola Gbadamosi, a visual and multidisciplinary artist, brings to her canvases a distinctly feminine energy. She employs whorls, curves and misty colours to draw us into a bold and sensuous world. In her paintings, we see something of our fire, dreams and desires, and from her we learn not to be frightened by them, and even more importantly, not to apologise for them.
“Tolulope Daramola, in his realistic portraits, employs dark-toned colours to evoke the moodier sides of the human psyche. The subjects of his paintings are often sombre and contemplative. Their eyes, skin tones, and aspects evince an air of melancholy. In their faces, painted against ordinary everyday settings, we glimpse the deeper textures of human experience.
“Paul Ayihawu, a realist painter of stillness and emotion, puts at his service colour, tone and texture to create portraits of quiet, riveting power. His paintings instill us with silence.
“Samuel Vittu, in paintings like A Gentle Man’s Rose and This Side of Heaven, shows us the textures and colours of comfort and aspiration. His paintings are rendered with pastel tones for the background, with warm colours for the heads of his animal-face subjects and soft bright ones for their clothes. The subjects in his paintings are sure of their place in the world; they are satisfied and positive. And Vittu paints them with such affection that we warm towards them.
“Their voices are different, their styles unique, but in A Room with All Our Things, these five artists have fashioned a common space for us all, a room of their things, and ours.”
About the exhibiting artists
Clarke ToritsejuFavour (b.1996), also known as Toju Clarke, is a Nigerian Sgrafitto and Digital artist. His search for a unique language of expression makes him explore art, traditionally, by scratching on canvas, and digitally over the past few years. A graduate of Yaba College of Technology, majoring in Graphic design, his knack for arts has led him to become a top finalist at Nigerian Student Art Contest
He is an Alumni of Next Economy/Fate Foundation and a member of The Executive Helping Initiative. He has spoken words about his art through a host of media houses including platforms like UNILAGFM, Silverbird, Television Continental (TVC), Channels TV’s Art House. He looks forward to creating awareness on issues that affect humans through his works. He hopes his art inspires people to take a leap, like he does every time he applies needles and hands in scratching technique.
AbisolaKuburatGbadamosi is a narrative expressionist and nature lover. She is originally from Ibadan, Oyo state, but grew up in Lagos and London. Abisola started experimenting with different mediums from an early age. Her ability to create stem from life experiences and lessonswhich she now expresses through her art in hopes to create a cathartic experience for her audience.
After her first exhibition in London at the brick Lane gallery in 2016, Abisola made an active decision to be an Art Teaching Assistant at her alma mater, British InternationalSchool, Lagos. She shared her truth, past, and creative process, with the hope of giving the kids a piece of what her teacher gave her then in 2008.
By doing so, Abisola finally understood the quote of Pablo Picasso: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.” It was in that moment she knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life; To create art that people could relate to, art that people could inspire, art that would make people feel that same euphoria she felt when she was a little girl.
Paul Ayihawu, a Nigerian-based contemporary artist uses charcoal and acrylic to tell the story of Africa in a new light. His work focuses more on the social-cultural issues and the impact of colonialism on African cultures and values. He expressed this often with flipped portraits of black people dressed in a hybrid of western and African dresses.
He is fervent about telling the untold, unheard and silent stories of the black community. His works are in private collections in USA, South Africa and Nigeria.
Samuel SemakoVittu (b. 1991), in Badagry, a coastal town of Lagos, believes that the face is laced with diverse stories. His work constantly interrogates the exterior of the face as an entry point into larger issues in the society with the use of acrylic, oil and charcoal. He fuses portraiture with anthropomorphism, employing bulgy eyes as windows and zoom lens into the happenings, experiences, thoughts, and crisis that goes on in the mind of his subjects.
Samuel comes from a family where an uncle had studied art, and given him the basic and formidable training during his formative (artistic) years. Those years could be described as one of concerted exposition.
As a trained painter and art educator, he holds a Nigerian Certificate in Education from Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education as well as a Bachelor of Art Education in painting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
As a practicing artist, Samuel works chiefly across painting and drawing. Working with charcoal, oil, acrylic and canvas has been his chosen media to register and visualize his inspiration, ideas and imaginations. The resulting artworks from his usually mixed-media experimentations are figuratively conceptual, suggestive, evocative and formalistic.
Samuel has participated in exhibitions such as Life In My City, Lagos zone, at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in (2013), he was also a participating artist in the (2019) group exhibition tagged ”DREAM” at Vivid exclusive art gallery. In (2021). He was part of the exhibiting artists at the Refrigerator poetry online exhibition, On Display, Wielding power at Landmark Gallery (2021). Samuel lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.
Tolulope Daramola is a self-taught contemporary artist whose work evokes deep emotions, questions of identity and skin pigmentation via the essence of the human physical features. Being of Yoruba heritage from the western part of Nigeria – apeople whose expression of feelings are etched in ostentatious cultural lifestyles -Daramolacelebrates the people’s arts and their way of life. The people’s way of life sometimes affirms Joy, for example, in “Owanbe”, a form of celebration of life, achievements and other feats by wearing colourful attires, whining and dinning together as happy people.
Daramola celebrates his background by the use of carefully picked subtle colours inherent in his works. Speaking of colours, this is the ideal segue into the red hue on black skin conversation in his works, as it spells the uniqueness in the identification of a valuable sentiments. Sometimes, it’s about anger against white supremacist and racism. Also it’s a reminder that a good mental exhaustion could have history rewritten through his visual story telling.
He seeks a full-cycle of life unfolding in stages on his canvas; childhood, adulthood, and the transition of self-awareness, through The striking poses and the looks of his subjects. “Be it an Omg! Wow! C’esttres bien! exclaimed when people see my paintings, I am fulfilled that my work finds expression,” he says.
The Art Pantheon is a team of professional and creative minds who believe strongly in Contemporary African Art. They specialize in exhibitions, documenting private and corporate collections and offer appraisals and valuations for insurance and market evaluations.