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Tale of 1000 Miniatures seeks reawakening of interest in art sector

By Margaret Mwantok and Benjamin Olisah
19 December 2018   |   3:23 am
A lot of Nigerians have passion for art. Some take it as a pastime activity, while others regard it as a full-time profession, and so channel their energy into it.

A lot of Nigerians have passion for art. Some take it as a pastime activity, while others regard it as a full-time profession, and so channel their energy into it. This massive interest has over the years brought about great development to the visual art industry as well as improve Nigeria’s economy through export of art works and attraction of tourists.

However, due to some negative factors, some of them are gradually finding interest in other areas. Issues like financial deficiency, lack of encouragement, lack of support from government, non-access to grants and limited sales of works have made these talented artists to quench their zeal in the profession.

In providing a swift solution to this problem, Ogirikan Gallery, in partnership with Iwalewa Gallery, held a one-day miniature art fair in Victoria Island, Lagos. Tagged Tale of 1000 Miniatures Art Fair, the maiden show was aimed at providing a platform where professionals and burgeoning artists can display their works and also rejuvenate interest in Nigerian art.

It featured 100 artists with each displaying a maximum of 20 works on diversified themes through various media like painting, sculpting, water colour, canvas, mixed media, photography, among others. Also, art lovers came in large numbers to admire the riveting works on display and buy them.

On display were works, which cut across various themes, touching on ills of the society, strength in diversity, gender inequality, motherhood, among others.

While speaking on the idea behind the event, founder of Iwalewa Gallery, Femi Williams, said it was borne out of the need to create a forum where young artists who haven’t got opportunities to showcase their talents to do so and also add to the profile of professionals.

“Tale of 1000 Miniature Arts was brought up by two galleries – Iwalewa and Ogirikan,” he said. “We had a conversation and thought about bringing artists together under one platform.”

On the possibility of achieving their aims in one day, Williams said, “We do a lot in Europe whereby we bring lots of works and display them in one day. It’s a challenging concept because so much of work for just one day is doable, because if a man can imagine it, he can do it. We do things in different ways. You have to think out of the box. Something mega for one day; a mega show done one day, something different. The experience is worth one day. There is a feeling, an experience in pulling all these creativity in just one day. People should yearn for it next time. It’s fine for one day. People should look out for it in the next edition so they don’t miss out.”

On her part, founder, Ogirikan Art Gallery, Adeolu Tahouf, said the objective of the exhibition was to give young artists a rare opportunity to showcase their works and spur them to the arduous journey to stardom.

Her words: “They say dreams start as a seed. And this is what you see. We work all day to make it a big dream.There are some artists that have never had the chance of their works being exhibited. This is an opportunity, especially for young artists. I have learned over the year not to like a particular artist but appreciate them. I told them to bring 20 works each, but some brought two because of their exams or school activities and I appreciate them for their effort in doing something.”

Tahouf also said the decision to hold the exhibition in just was day was not a bad one, as it made the participants submit their works on time, rather than waiting for the last minute. She also stated that the event was self-sponsored and hoped for its betterment in subsequent editions.

One of the exhibitors, Isreal Ophori, a photographer, said he enjoys documenting pictures because it serves as a source of history for posterity, adding, “Photography is the fastest and highest form of art. You just use any tool you have to capture light and document it for a lifetime. Anybody can be a photographer, but we have those with inner eyes to see in photography. Recently, I see more with my ears not with my eyes. I’m a trained photojournalist. Art, photography and photojournalism are intertwined and like three musketeers.”

Another exhibitor, Pius Remit, said his works focus on highlighting the importance of women and children in society. According to the artist, every nation that wishes to develop must consider the womenfolk and children as indispensible and give them sensitive leadership positions, noting, “Women are the foundation of every society, and most often than not, we neglect this fact. Our cultural inclines make us casualise what the woman represents.”

Remit uses mixed medium with multi-colour on acrylic to depict women as builders and sustainers of nations: “The human destiny cannot be sold without being artistic. Art makes you acceptable, and inspires your environment.”Emmanuel Isiuwe’s acrylic work on canvass mounted on boards paintings show different happenings in the environment, ranging from medical practitioners to traditional rulers’ daily routines. Pointing the fact that medical practice had changed from what it used to be, he said, “The profession is now monetize; the focus is no longer on saving lives first, as upfront payment is demanded before treatment”.

Isiuwe obviously enjoys drawing, as he was on ground capturing every moment of the fair on his board. Drawing, according to him, is the basis of art.For Stephen Osuchukwu, women are most vulnerable to negative norms of society. His compositions depict women’s sufferings, and the aftermath of violence on women.Renowned artist, David Herbert Dale, whose professional art experience spans over five decades, declared the exhibition open. Dale had five works on display.