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Mohammed steps into new period of Beauty and Illusion

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Alexis Galleries


Two basic components, aesthetics and perception, form the pedestal on which Raji Mohammed has built his new paintings. A consistent figurative painter, he brings the duality of art into his new show, Beauty and Illusion, which opens to the public from September 11 to 18, 2021, at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The show is also on virtual platforms of the gallery’s social media handles such as, Instagram- alexisgalleries, Facebook- Thehomestores & Alexisgalleries.

From his established signature as a realist, the artist moves into pseudo-abstract expressionism. However, his application of colours are sustained in the new style and technique.

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Among some of the works that announce Mohammed’s fresh canvas textures are Bond (Eko for Show series), Unlimited (Standing Tall series) and Protected, all dated 2021.

In each of the paintings, Mohammed allows space, specifically, on the headroom of the canvas to generate illusory effect in communication.

Black stripes of yellow, in most artistic expressions that depict Lagos, radiate aura of chaos. But in Mohammed’s Bond (Eko for Show series), the canvas emits glamour from three figures against yellow background of black stripes.
Perhaps, one of most naughty aspects of creating a masterpiece painting is the choice of toning for background.

For Standing Tall, Mohammed’s brushings in linear technique for the background creates contrast for the central figure to blossom. The beauty of the painting lies more in the artist’s coalescence of loud colours, in the figure and subtleness of the background.

The theme, Beauty and Illusion, was inspired by a collection of thoughts and knowledge I gathered from research and interaction with current day experiences,” Mohammed stated. “I discovered that many of the things that seem like an anchor are just a mirage, and that the society thrives on these illusions to stay relevant.”

He explained, “the 11 works in Beauty and Illusion also present the idea of true beauty in growth, security, unity and inclusivity as I juxtapose it with themes of hype, stereotype, relevance, bad governance and inequality.”

For Mohammed and most young, emerging as well as mid-career artists, transiting from one period to another comes with the apprehension over the unknown. And dousing such fear, Mohammed seemed to have been bold enough in populating his show with works of the new period. His previous style of direct realism, he warned, is not dumped yet.

“This style is not replacing the one I’m known for, but I want to use this exhibition to show the art community that there is another side to the Raji brand or signature,” he disclosed. “I still produce photo-impressionist works but decided to show a body of work in a style I have been working on for close to three years now in which I have exhibited some of my explorative works both in Nigeria and outside the country.”

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Mohammed first showed in the gallery, five years ago. The gallery statement added: “Raji Mohammed is a figurative painter, who has over the years, mastered his art. He is relentless in training and practicing in a pattern that speaks growth. Raji has trained under the watchful eyes of great masters, using everyday life occurrences and moods around him as inspirations to produce inspiring works of art.”

He studied Fine and Applied Art at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, Lagos, and graduated with a National Certificate in Education (NCE) Fine and Applied Art in 2008. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Education) degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka Nigeria in 2015.

The show is sponsored and supported 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 Intergrated Ltd, and AMG Logistics.

The gallery is partnering Cerebral Palsy (CP) Centre, which provides therapy and care for children with CP, grassroots awareness campaigns facing the challenges of raising children with CP, advocating for help and policy changes in favour of individuals living with CP and other disabilities, by donating part of the exhibition proceeds to its course.

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