Thursday, 7th December 2023

Celebrating Adekola’s infinite growth at Alexis

By Tajudeen Sowole
30 May 2021   |   3:45 am
The artist Suraj Adekola, whose career development has gone through transition, has assembled an oeuvre of paintings to celebrate this growth.

Suraj Adekola’s painting titled Blessing Overflow (72 X 48 inches, dated 2021)

The artist Suraj Adekola, whose career development has gone through transition, has assembled an oeuvre of paintings to celebrate this growth.

Adekola has chosen a part of his past, Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos to make a debut solo titled, Infinite Growth. The show, which started yesterday, will be on till June 5, 2021. Adekola was in a group exhibition titled, Triad at Alexis with Monsuru Awotunde and Olorunfemi Kinrin in 2018.

From shades of styles and techniques, Adekola’s palette has moved through abstraction to representational impressionism, making him among the most adventurous artists of his generation.

For the Infinite Growth exhibition, the artist brings into one space, an oeuvre comprising figurative and pseudo-abstraction.

For an artist whose strokes, over the years, have explored more of landscape and streetscape, most times, in abstract context, some of his pieces on figurative for Infinite Growth come with diverse textures. For example, Swimming On Joy, acrylic and spray paint on canvas (dated, 2021), comes with double textures. With quite some boldness in features such as eyes and gleaming dental display, the aesthetic energy of the piece seems to have been generated more in the mosaic-effect and dripping techniques.

Adekola, in this painting, creates a strong illusory dimension effect, confirming his Infinite Growth through the palette of creative adventure.

Also throwing similar optical effect on the canvas are paintings of the same medium and dated year such as Full Of Life, Full Of Smile and People And Pandemic.

In over one year of pandemic, there has been so much frustration and anguish, Adekola noted during a preview of the show. His contribution in bringing a kind of relief to the world, he explained, “is creating smiles on people’s faces.”

The optical illusion effect is clearly a fresh period in Adekola’s career. He disclosed, “I started this blurring effect in 2019.”

He explained how the new state of his art crept into contributing to the Nigerian contemporary visual arts lexicon.
The artist’s mastery of crowd effect is seen in works such as Pilgrims series and Ilaje Community.

Using crowded subjects to stimulate interest in an art piece is not exactly new, particularly among Nigerian artists. Reason: the country’s landscapes are embellished with quite a lot of theatrics. However, Adekola’s style, as seen in Ilaje Community, creates a lighting pattern that is high-key. With his choice of lighting, the painting makes the rooftops of the houses on stilts more dramatic as the shades fall on the river abode of the houses.

As instructive and inspiring as the theme of the exhibition is, it also comes with a challenge of commensurate output. Alexis Gallery appeared to know exactly how to present an artist it has been tracking over the years.

“I had a different theme, but Alexis’ suggestion of Infinite Growth explained how much the gallery has followed my works,” he said.

With quite many years of visibility since he started his post-training career in 2007, Adekola, a graduate of Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, said his long wait for a solo show has been as a result of challenge in getting enough works to show. While contending with that common ‘virus’ of most artists as regards assembling works for a solo show, linking his last with the current, on the appreciation scale, he said, has been steady. Taking collectors along with my new styles and technique “is not so much of challenge because i always link one stage of my work to another.”

Sponsored by Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, The Guardian, Wazobia Tv, Cool Fm, Ups, Haier Thermocool, Cobranet, Delta Airlines, Aina Blankson, The Homestores, Art Café, Lost In Lagos, Arzeh Integrated Ltd, And Amg Logistics, the exhibition is also being organised in partnership with Little Sisters Of the Poor.

“We are pleased to announce that the gallery will be partnering with “Little sisters of the poor,” Party Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, founder and curator of Alexis Galleries stated. “They offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family, and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to Himself.”

Chidiac-Mastrogiannis assured that part of the proceeds from the exhibition would be donated to Little Sisters Of the Poor