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Kanye in Master and his prodigy at Orisun Gallery

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja
29 May 2022   |   4:12 am
The 12-year old Kanye Tagbo Okeke recently exhibited over 20 pieces of paintings at the Orisun Gallery, Abuja. Although the young artist had exhibited locally and internally, the recent outing dazzled the audience,

Kanye Tagbo Okeke

The 12-year old Kanye Tagbo Okeke recently exhibited over 20 pieces of paintings at the Orisun Gallery, Abuja.
Although the young artist had exhibited locally and internally, the recent outing dazzled the audience, as they watched him begin and complete an abstract painting inspite of his age and the fact that he lives with autism.

Titled, The Master and his Prodigy, the solo show attracted the master artist, Professor Bruce Onobrakpeya, who admitted that he was thrilled at the paintings of not just a young boy, but one living with a peculiar kind of challenge.

Some titles of Kanye’s paintings include, The Clown in our Midst; Fire and the Ice; Splash of Wonder and Empire. Others are, Mood, Web of Life as well as Shirt & Trouser.

While majority of his paintings are abstracts, others are of human figures or faces. The beauty of the generality of Kanye’s paintings, however, lies in the mixture of colours.

His parents, to commemorate the 2022 World Autism month and to contribute to the awareness campaign about autism, packaged the show.

Welcoming guests, Kanye’s father, Mr. Tagbo Okeke, stated that he found it an immense honour to have his son stand on the same stage with the master, Onobrakpeya.

Noting that autism was gradually becoming an epidemic of immense proportion, he narrated the process taken to find out all about his son’s health condition and how to deal with the disorder.

“And graciously, Kanye was introduced to art,” he said, adding: “I thank everyone here for honouring Kanye, as we join the rest of the world in observing the world Autism awareness month set aside by the United Nations to take measures in creating awareness about people living with autism disorder.”

Professor Onobrakpeya, in his remarks, reiterated the power of arts to heal, stressing that such gift has been used to confront challenges and document the evolution of life in a community.

He admired Kanye’s courage and determination while commending his parents for supporting him wholeheartedly.

“Kanye is a successful inclusion of a child living with autism. We need to replicate this case in respect of all children on the autism spectrum. Also, to be able to conquer the disorder and for people to live a happy life, parents and government must be there to support those with autism syndrome.”

On his ability to paint so well in spite of his health condition, the master artist likened Kanye’s talent to a seed sown on a fertile ground.

He said: “The subconscious state in him is what is coming out for you to see and enjoy. He is going to continue and produce better things.”

Speaking further on the power of the arts to heal the mind, Onobrakpeya noted that the difficult socio-economic environment pervading the nation, most times, causes provocation “but if you go to a studio and begin to paint, what is coming out of your hands and mind makes you forget the trouble you have that is upsetting you.

“Art has the power of making it possible for you to forget the disturbing things in the environment. As soon as you face the art or some nice ideas about the environment, nothing else matters and that itself has a healing power. I have interacted with a doctor who uses art as a therapy. He introduces paintings to his patients in the hospital and that helps them.”

The visual art master also congratulated the owners of the facility for investing hugely in the arts. According to him, “time will come when foreigners will come to Abuja simply to visit this place and that will galvanise the economic prosperity of this metropolis.”

Adding: “The gallery itself is a revenue earner and an entertainment centre; it is also an employer of labor and education centre.

“It is going to grow to an extent whereby it will attract people from all corners of the world. Already, it has started to collect precious artworks. It will not just stop with this generation of people, they are going to get other things, they are going to get sessions and it is going to grow in that magnitude to be a great blessing to this country.”

The elated Executive Director, Orisun Art Gallery, Dr. Adebola Adetunmbi, was delighted to host the master and his prodigy – Onobrakpeya and Kanye.

She explained that the word “Orisun” drew from a Yoruba name meaning “source”, in honour of the creative potential God deposited in humanity.

“This particular occasion is in commemoration of the World Autism month of April, where we have the opportunity to celebrate special ones as we can see in the glorious works of Kanye.

“I want you to experience art and witness the great diversity of arts culture that we have in Nigeria, West Africa and all over Africa,” Dr. Adetunbi stated.

She later conducted Onobrakpeya and other guests round the massive gallery space that has played host to several dignitaries and art lovers since inception two years ago.