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At Alexis, Dudu brothers return in colour, monochrome

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Arrival 2 (Migrant series, 90cm ×140 cm. Oil on canvas, 2020), by Emmanuel Dudu.


For the second time, Dudu brothers, Emmanuel and Stanley, share a space in common, showing paintings of oil and pastel. In 2013, the brothers had a two-artist show, Meet the Dudus, at Alexis Galleries, Victoria, Island, Lagos, but Stanley retuned to the same space a year later for a solo titled, Next Episode.

Seven years after, art lovers and connoisseurs have something fresh to savour when the artists’ new show, Meet The Dudus II, opens, virtually, from September 26 to October 3, 2020. For viewing of the new exhibition at Alexis Galleries, registration is required in compliance with Lagos State government’s protocols on COVID-19 pandemic.

While Emmanuel’s painting highlights courage of people against challenges in socio-economic areas, Stanley brings his personal encounter in environmental issues into focus. Collectively, the brothers celebrate the resilience and virtue in fine art, even in a country where contemporary visual contents keep expanding, contentiously.

A movement of people titled, Arrival-2, and captured in outline of shades depicts Emmanuel’s thoughts on the recurring migration crisis across the world. Despite being bathed in what looks like a mono colour, the piece still exudes quite a depth of tones from the artist’s skills in handling hues. In fact, the aesthetic of Arrival-2 lies more in the hues, which outline the various age groups of the migrants, including children caught in the migration crisis.

A family’s preparation for the inevitable exit of the girl child from her home to another man’s care is narrated by the brushstrokes of Emmanuel in Rehearsal For Roli’s Wedding. A work of an impressionistic texture, the artist’s rendition of two elderly couple in expectant mood of their granddaughter’s wedding, also comes with emotion. As an art piece, irrespective of the thematic contents behind the artist’s thoughts, the tone in colour boosts the mood, radiating an aura of empathy.

Also included in his 14 works for the exhibition is Wall of Fame series, a pseudo-triptych, with each telling story one man’s success trajectory on the walls. More of contextual note in the concept of the three-piece is the relativity of satisfaction or contentment, which the man’s story emits. “Satisfaction,” Emmanuel argues during preview of the exhibition, is not always about “being rich in money” or having the largest material things of the world.”

Stanley’s journey through the phases of mastery of monochromatic texture keeps pulsating, so assert some of his works for Meet The Dudus’ II exhibition. From strictly black and white to mixed colour, some of the works bring surreal tone into his compositions, combining monochrome and colour, in one piece.

For example, a still life titled He Who Brings Kola, Brings Life, rendered in charcoal and pastel on paper, depicts ritual of celebrating life. Interestingly, it also injects a kind of surreal texture: a blue plate of brownish kola nuts and dark skinned fishes, all in the midst an entirely black and white space create depth of theatrics in visual rendition skills.

From being known as an artist of monochrome tone in the pasts, Stanley has now “gone beyond those simple expressions and add some complexity” into his work. He says his canvas “is more populated,” noting that it makes for stronger contents compared to single subject theme of the past.

Stanley recalls how moving through Lagos streets have inspired his concept of “good and bad sceneries of which I have spread” on to the canvas. Among such works is Nightscape, in series of four, in which he captures, in collage form, different situations within Ikorodu residential axis of Lagos where he lives.

Still flaunting his skills in the aesthetics of coalescing black and white with colour elements, which creates collage-effect, Stanley leaves the city. He goes elsewhere to dialogue with naturalism and generates Nature Stirs Fun, a capture of boy and girl by the waterside.

Sponsored and supported by Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, The Guardian, Wazobia FM Radio, Cool Fm, Ups, Cool World, Cobranet, Delta Airlines, The Homestores, Art Café, And Lost In Lagos Magazine, the exhibition is Alexis’ second show after the ease of lockdown in Nigeria. Last week, the gallery opened Knock On Wood II, a group exhibition of five artists.

Bimpe Owoyemi, co-curator at Alexis assures that the exhibition, despite going on virtual “will also be available for viewing in the gallery by registration.”

Director at Alexis, Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis notes that apart from being brothers from the same mother, the artists “grew up together in art.” The “tough time” created by the COVID-19 crisis not withstanding, “the exhibition is good for the artists to boost their CV,” Chidiac-Mastrogiannis argues. “It’s very rare to have exhibition of two brothers,” twice in one gallery.

For Emmanuel, who, between the first and the 2020 edition, has returned to the classroom to get his master’s degree, something fresh, he promses, is coming. “There is difference in purpose compared to the last time we showed here.”

Emmanuel had his Higher National Diploma (HND) at the Auchi Polytechnic in 1999. He added a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Art from the University of Lagos in 2007 and a master’s in Visual Art History from the same school in 2012. His moment in art was when he won the First Prize (Lagos) Recycleart Art Competition on repurposed materials organised by Sterling Bank in 2017.

Stanley also graduated from the Auchi Polytechnic with Higher National Diploma in painting in 2006. His outstanding performance earned him excellence with distinction as the overall best student. After his compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme , he has been a full-time studio artist in Lagos.

He has shown his works in over 25 group exhibitions as well as won several awards. He won the 1stprize in Nigerian Undergraduate Art Competition (2006) organised by Pat Kairos Foundation; 2nd Prize at Nigeria’s constitutional Evolution, organised by Nigerian Institute Of Advanced Legal Studies (2009); 2nd Prize of Chronicles of a Great Nation at 50 (2010); Grand prize Celebrating 50-5 Independence & Rapprochemen Spain – Nigeria, organised by Embassy of Spain (2010); and Best Drawing prize Being Young at Life In My City Art Festivals/Rocana Advertising Agencies (2012).


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