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Future masters on the race for Next of Kin glory

With six years of studio practice, 10 artists are headed towards the future mastery of the canvas. Selected from over 100 entries, the young artists converge for a grand finale...

Artists in master’s race

With six years of studio practice, 10 artists are headed towards the future mastery of the canvas. Selected from over 100 entries, the young artists converge for a grand finale aimed at unearthing fresh talents for discerning art collectors.

Ikechukwu Ezeigwe, Alogi John, Julius Agbaje, Segun Fagorusi, Odibo Odiabhehor, Badru Taofeek, Ifeanyi Ugwoke, Olukotun Opeyemi, Edozie Anedu and Tobiloba Kareem are the young artists in the race for the future. Themed Next of Kin, the art competition, which is in second edition, opens its 2019 grand finale on March 16, 2019 at Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Ezeigwe’s painting titled, Slay Mama narrates the story of old ladies who still want to be trendy and fashionable. In stylised, perhaps, satirical form, Ezeigwe captures a heavily made over face peeling off from the skin, but in animal depiction. “I see such ladies a lot on my street,” he said.

For Alogi, it is about celebrating African mothers in a painting titled, Routine-I (Virtues). From high angle view, his strokes capture a young lady surrounded by domestic wares in what seems like somebody dish washing. “African women, particularly the Yoruba, train their children in domestic chores, to prepare the girl child for future marital life,” Alogi, a native of Abeokuta, Ogun State, noted.

With a dog head placed on semi-nude human body, Agbaje also goes cultural in deep Yoruba philosophy. He mocks ladies with promiscuous characters by using dog in satiric context. “I am trying to engage the Yoruba belief of ise eranko ise eniyan to situate human and animal characters alike.”

In defence of old ladies, Fagorusi’s realism painting of four women titled, Stakeholders Meeting, abhors how the society castigates aged people as ‘witches’. “Sometimes, we call them witches, especially in Nollywood films, as well as the social media.”

In a simple portrait of unidentified male titled, To Will, Odiabhehor’s painting preaches pluralism. The artist argued that his choice of portrait for the subject, using “lines, colours and shapes” communicates the message of being comfortable about “what you believe in and respect that of others too.”

However, whoever is not so fortunate to be tolerated has succour in Badru’s painterly collage, but embroidery titled, Eebu d’ola Mi (Being Bullied Is My Strength). “It is my mother’s adapted name as the last wife in the family, but got over all the intimidation as she ended up being celebrated by all.”

Ugwoke’s Desired Freedom situates zebra’s vulnerability in the jungle on similar scale with violation of children’s right. With zebra motifs on a profile view of the young subject in the painting, the artist warned that abuse of children should be checked, as “every child desires to live a good life and excel like other children.”

In a hyperrealism rendition of commercial motorcyclists waiting for passengers, Opeyemi’s Options Available shows the survival race of urban dwellers. The lady, as a passenger searching for an affordable means of transport, the artist explained, “represents the hardship people go though everyday in the city.”

Interrogating the current state of affair in Nigeria, Anedu’s Religion, Politics and What Not — highly stylised in figurative — depicts how the society relates to institutions. “The police, political class and others, all dividing the society to their gains, yet getting everyone in disarray.”

In simplified monochrome capture of moods, Kareem’s pencil piece titled, Palava, also celebrates womanhood. The three moods in one, of a girl, he explained, “is about the right of a lady to be heard.”

The Next of Kin gathering, according to Thought Pyramid, seeks to bring to the fore, untapped talents in the select artists and showcase them to the world “by offering an already established platform to unearth their creativity.”

Listed as benefits are: First prize carries four weeks residency, second attracts N150,000 and third place gets N100,000.

The winners will be announced at the exhibition opening on March 16, 2019.

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