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Intersection unites Asemokha and Jeremiah at Araba Gallery


A cubist style painting by Imomoh Asemokha

Making their imprints on the Lagos art landscape, two artists from the basic genres of painting and sculpture have added colours to Ikeja, an axis of Lagos considered disadvantaged in art appreciation. About two decades ago, Ikeja had the prospect of becoming Lagos’ second art hub, but that was not to be.

However, with the support of Araba Art Gallery, which has been showing signs of a front-runner in rejuvenating art business on Lagos mainland, Imomoh Asemokha and Nwugo Jeremiah have a common pedestal.

After about three to four exhibitions so far and barely two years old, Araba has been providing windows for up-and-coming artists, so suggested its recently held art exhibition titled Intersection.

The exhibition, in thematic context, was described as the point “where paths cross and bonds are established” to engage in dialogues for fusion.In cubist style painting, Asemokha captures an aerial view of slum settlements in a beautified rendition of harmonious tones, lighting and shades. The architectural piece and a portrait, also of cubism form, are the immediate pieces of works that welcome a visitor to Intersection inside the moderate space at Araba Gallery.

In clay, ‘Atoinnent’ by Jeremiah says so much about what the artist professes as his contribution to African cultural value. With glazed terracotta, necessary “to give finishing,” the artist goes further into Yoruba proverbial expression. Among such is a surreal form sculpture ‘Koniburu Fun Ori ki a de Fila…’ Given the seemingly familiar title of the work, the representational form in sculpture, however, appears like a brain-cracker.

“It’s an opposite way of representing the proverb,” Jeremiah says.And here comes a surprise: a Nok terracotta head look-alike titled ‘Identity,’ which coalesces many African themes. This and other few unglazed pieces indeed radiate the natural texture aura of clay.

The idea of surreal, he says, is “to give viewers different feel of works whichever way you turn. Also, being an artist working in an environment full of uncertainty, particularly in choosing area of focus, inspires what he titled as ‘Behind Closed Door.’ The artist explains how the work “captures my personal struggles,” as well as the value of the sculpture genre of art, which “affords me more challenges,” in creative expression.

For Jeremiah, the curator at Araba Gallery, Subomi Decker, notes how her paintings “are simply soothing,” with colours that “vary between hot and cool, warm and quiet, yet the overall intensity is strong in meaning.”

However, the artist’s cubism form seems to have an explanation when one considers that she has a stint in mentorship with cubist, Duke Asidere. “Asemokha was mentored by Asidere-led Play Spot Studios,” the curator discloses. For Jeremiah, he has a mentor in Decker’s Enaaroko Studios. But the two artists are of the same Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. “Both artists have the capacity to evolve further and cause a storm anywhere in the world, in the very near future,” the curator boasted.

The exhibition was part of the gallery’s second edition of Art Week. Decker argues that the breath in the second edition “is refreshing,” saying the business of promoting art appreciation on the mainland part of Lagos is a gradual and committed one for the new gallery.

This perhaps makes Araba Gallery a growing art outlet. In fact, it has been described as a gallery that “features a remarkable collection of paintings, drawings, textile, pottery and sculptures, as “it provides a platform for new and emerging talent, alongside older, and more established names.”

Excerpts from the artists statement: “Painting is both a spiritual and mental process; the eyes depends on the soul to see and express the truth genuinely,” Asemokha says. “Art is a language that we’ve all spoken. The question is: in whose voice have you spoken your own art, yours or someone else’s? Because therein the difference lies,” Jeremiah says.

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