By Osa Mbonu-Amadi, Arts Editor
Wood medium genius and creative philosopher, Chukwuemeka Michaels Osisiego, is on show with a solo art exhibition titled “Balance” at Alexis Galleries, Akin Olugbade Street, off Idowu Martins, Victoria Island, Lagos, from Saturday, May 14, 2022.
Osisiego (the tree that produces money as fruits), is showcasing 8 of his works created on wood panels. Three of the works are titled “Commitment”, “Umuada” and “We Move”.
An insightful visual artist with a profound philosophical mind, Osisiego sees adherence to balance in everything we do as panacea to the myriads of problems afflicting humanity and the world today. He defines balance as “two elements that stay on the same level.”
Curator of the exhibition, Mathew Oyedele, explains that “Balance is a body of work consisting of 8 wood panels that seeks to maintain a stable line between law and order, stillness and movement, dearth and abundance, courage and cowardice, alienation and commitment.
“Reflecting on the concept of moderation and stability,” says Oyedele, “the exhibition examines and dialogues with the idea of balance between two extremes; what Aristotle termed “Maintaining the Golden Mean.”
Osisiego’s works bear strong influences of the Uli and Nsibidi motifs. “Uli is our motif,” he says. “We can’t run away from our own identities. Other countries and cultures also have their own motifs which are peculiar to them.” Osisiego believes that the political, social and economic problems of Nigeria can be solved if people adhere to and practice balance.
The artist’s philosophy of balance began in his secondary school days in Kaduna when his father used to take his and his siblings to the law courts to listen to cases. From that time, the young Chukwuemeka concluded that what the judges or magistrates do in adjudicating between the complainant and the defendant is balance.
According to the curator, Osisiego’s processes begin from Apapa port, where he buys packing case woods from local women. “He thereafter cuts the woods into segments before subjecting them to other processes like burning, blowing, drawing, engraving, priming and painting.”
Born in Kaduna, Nigeria, Chukwuemeka Osisiego started out as a painter before delving into exploration of wood as medium which has given him a voice and an identity. He studied Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, specializing in painting. He works primarily with acrylic on wood panels.
Chukwuemeka Osisiego is inspired by nature, culture and his environment. He has participated in over 13 exhibitions, counting from his school days. He lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.
Patty Chidiac Mastrogiannis, founder of Alexis Galleries says “presenting the works of Osisiego in a solo exhibition is a step in the right direction which the gallery is proud to take. The artist was part of a group exhibition of wood etchings at the gallery in 2019 and has gone on to build on his strength and skills since then.”
The exhibition is sponsored by Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, The Guardian, AMG Logistics, Haier Thermocool, U.P.S, Aina Blankson, Lost in a City and Cobranet. Other sponsors are Art Café, Wazobia TV, Ashir Design, Nigerian Info FM and Rentokil Boecker.