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From Adejumo’s canvas comes freudian tones


Lady Waiting

With a greater part of his over three decades experience devoted to expressing female anatomy in painting and drawing, Segun Adejumo has begun probing the emotion that a woman’s figure generates. Adejumo, in his current work, aligns artistic narrative with the famous Austrian neurologist, Freud Sigmund’s scientific analysis of the female body.

From September 8 to 15, 2019, at Old Brompton Gallery, London, U.K., Adejumo will be sharing his thoughts via a ‘salon’ show of about 15 paintings titled, Freudian Tones.The artist will also treat the issue of leadership in Nigeria. Again, the female — this time in modest and graceful appearance — is implored to draw attention to a contentious and volatile ethno-social crisis in Nigeria.

In 2011, Adejumo had his last solo titled, Ideal and Ideas, at Nettatal Luxury, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he provided a perspective on the volatile Niger Delta narrative. Between that show and the artist’s current show, there is a commonality in the area of environment, which he touches briefly in the new body of work.


Beyond the surface of the natural attraction between man and woman, the artist’s brush explains, in detail, how forms and senses communicate. Imploring light and shades of hues — mostly on the yellowish tones — Adejumo presents a canvas of romanticised figures. Among the paintings in which the artist takes creative perspective into probity of women’s emotion is Single Bloom. With roving palettes that coalesce combustible colours, Adejumo’s painting explains a lady’s natural reluctance to initiate romantic move, leaving it for the man. “Women’s area of strength is about influence not assertion,” Adejumo told his guest in Lagos shortly before leaving for London.

Also, seen during the preview is Bogolan (blanket), a painting, he said derives its identity from a Malian word. Adejumo, an artist who has developed passion for traveling across West Africa coast for inspiration, implores the Malian theme to extend the emotional analyses about ladies’ subtlety.
For environment and climate related interests, a seated woman bathe in subtle yellow dominance and shade of red, Lady Earths Cry, seeks some intervention from above, so suggests her gesture.

Recently, Adejumo’s works in brush strokes of ladies, heavy down the backside, appears to speak much in anatomical expression. He uses the same style again in Lady Earth Cry, emitting the common fragility that holds the world and its inhabitants. Adejumo also captures government’s efforts at handling recurring bloody clashes between herders and farmers. Adejumo also satirises the wife of Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Dolapo. In what should have radiated beauty on canvas, the painting titled, For Whom the Bell Tolls, reveals an ‘ungodly’ form. He dresses Dolapo elegantly in buba and iro, but introduces a controversial part of the narrative, by planting cow horns on her ‘gele’ (headgear).


Is Adejumo’s depiction of Dolapo, adorned in cow horns, not too harsh in criticising Osinbajo?
“The burden of not saying something when we all keep quiet; the bell tolls on all of us,” he argued.This is actually not a new concept in Adejumo’s oeuvre. Female related subjects have actually dominated his themes. For example, he was in Accra, Ghana, five years ago for a workshop on Efua, the late woman activist, who campaigned against female genital mutilation.

The workshop, he recalled, energised his earlier themes on females. “I worked on genital mutilation much earlier from 2011 to 2014.” Traces of such would most likely be seen in this London show, he said.Organised by Jadé Art, with the support of Femi Lijadu, Olayinka Fisher and Arian Capital Management Limited, the show is curated by Aderonke Akinyele-Bolanle. Noting that ‘Freudian Tones, is a highly romanticised expression of man’s desire for a woman with dignifying restraints, the curator said the concept was carved out of the artist’s love for Freud.

“The female figure is the major capture in which the artist uses to communicate to his audience,” Akinyele-Bolanle explained. “The female figure if professionally manipulated artistically is capable of impacting altered emotions; this is one credit to Adejumo, as he is an expert in using the female figure as a mouthpiece in asserting his concepts.” The central theme in interplay of ideas and concepts, the curator stated, “explains the primary aim of the exhibition, which is to prove that art is a very effective tool for illustrating affairs of life.”


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