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O’DA Gallery seeks to excite art lovers with Into The Deep

By Tobi Awodipe
01 June 2023   |   3:04 am
In its usual tradition of showcasing the best and most unusual talents in the art world, from May 13-June 3, 2023, O’DA Art Gallery is exhibiting to the world, Chika Idu’s ‘Into The Deep’.

O’DA Gallery

In its usual tradition of showcasing the best and most unusual talents in the art world, from May 13-June 3, 2023, O’DA Art Gallery is exhibiting to the world, Chika Idu’s ‘Into The Deep’.

Idu, a renowned multi-medium international artist based in Lagos, is out to captivate art lovers and inject a breath of fresh air into the art landscape with his creative works.

The solo exhibition holding at O’DA, has on display, 22 artworks, made with watercolour and oil, all from his Swimmers Series, a body of work that tasks his creative ingenuity with a mastering that distinguishes him from his peers. Though several of his paintings are imbued with narrative contents that depict children engaging in various forms of activity; on the way to school, praying or reading, this exhibition is rich with swimming background.

Speaking at a media parley heralding the exhibition, Idu explained that he was greatly influenced by his passion for the ecosystem, the need to stop pollution and how human’s activities affect the environment. He said when he used to live in Ikorodu, he would use water transportation and became very aware of the communities living by the coastlines.

He said he noticed that the children dived into the water to bath, a few distance away, others passed faeces into the same water while some fetched the very same water to cook. He said the water also had lots of refuse by the banks and all he saw greatly disturbed him but he received threats when he spoke about it publicly. He said the experience, however, inspired him into painting those swimming children.

Praising the gallery founder, Obida Obioha, he said the latter saw in his work, something others did not. Adding that he faced rejection when he started, as many people didn’t appreciate his work, he said a gallery owner removed his art one time in a move that shocked him.

Adding that he has always lent his voice to children and women, he said he was the first artist to start painting children long before it became popular. “Children are very creative and intelligent, they are always creating and inventing things on their own. I have always tried to give a voice to children and that is why I am lending my voice to making the waters safer for them.”

Creative director and founder of the Gallery, Obioha, praised Idu, saying this is the most beautiful show they have had at the gallery so far. Speaking further, Obioha said he discovered Idu at another gallery and after putting the pictures he took of his work on Instagram; the platform linked them up somehow. “I am happy it has all come together and I’m looking forward to the reception we’re going to get. Art can give a respite to the chaos around us and we are all about sharing beauty at O’DA because beauty heals the soul; we want to bring joy to people’s lives.”

For over two decades, this artist has created and mastered different styles and techniques for each medium he works with and is evident in his watercolours, acrylics, drawings, collages, oils and several sculpture media. Idu, who said he experimented with a lot of textures and uses sawdust as base texture in some of his works, added that his painting is inspired by his observation of light striking against visual imperatives like dust and misty fog, in what he calls Light Against Visual Distortion.

According to the artist, he gets bored with conventional methods and materials so he challenges himself with every medium, to discover a new approach, method and style of medium handling and manipulation. Besides teaching art at Lycee Louis Pasteur, Idu works in his Ajah studio in Lagos and was instrumental in the creation of Defactori Studios. He also created the first Nigerian Watercolour Society of Artists (SABLES) and has been a part of numerous international and local group exhibitions.

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