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When Bolarinde played host to Ooni of Ife, Oba Elegushi, others in an uncompleted building

By Eniola Daniel
23 July 2022   |   4:03 am
You are sure to think that Olubukola Bolarinde has gone ‘mad’ for staging her first-ever solo art exhibition in an uncompleted building at the heart of the Eko Atlantic City.

Olubukola Bolarinde and the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi during the show.<br />

You are sure to think that Olubukola Bolarinde has gone ‘mad’ for staging her first-ever solo art exhibition in an uncompleted building at the heart of the Eko Atlantic City.

Others call it a rich lady vibe but for the self-taught artist, it’s a romance with Mother Nature; and the presence of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and the Elegushi, Oba Saheed Ademola added colour to the show.

An unusual site for exhibition, the A&A Tower, which is still under construction, was the finishing stroke to Bolarinde’s vision of fusing two of her passions; Art and Architecture. According to her, she wanted people to appreciate both in their truest form.

Ushered in with a deluge of praises, the royal dignitaries joined other notable guests such as famed largest private art collector, Omooba Yemisi Shyllon; founder of Elizade Group of Companies, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo and Managing Director, James Cubitt Architects, Alan Davies. 

Staged in the construction site of Arkland Construction, the exhibition dubbed ‘106 Expressions’,  which marked the maiden of Bolarinde’s solo show, was equal parts culture and arts.

Split into sections, one part accommodated the over 80 paintings lined successively in a meandering space. The images depicted different stories of traditions and humanities such as the Wusasa painting, an artistic tribute to the Christian community nestled in Zaria, Kaduna State. Another artwork was a painting of the Ooni of Ife.

The other part of the show showcased 20 dresses that infused Bolarinde’s artistic insight through the help of two creatives Vonnemac Couture and Isi Atagamen. All ensembles were showcased by models on a makeshift runway flanked by guests. Each fabric on the runway was made in Nigeria by Nigerians.

The evening was lit up by the pulsating beats of the cultural dance group who ushered in guests. However, as the evening progressed, dancehall star Patoranking, Oritsefemi and Goya Menor thrilled the audience with their performances as they enjoyed the refreshments of the evening.

Commending Bolarinwa’s efforts in promoting and drawing awareness to the art and culture space, the Ooni said: “Bolarinde is formidable to give back to society. She brings a wealth of knowledge in the arts and uses that to connect every one of us. She has so much passion for many things.”

Yinka Paramole also applauded Bolarinde’s approach to art.
“Bukola’s point of reference usually shows the challenges and difficulties encountered by Africans on a daily basis. Each piece exhibited today has a unique story to tell.”

A trained architect from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL), Bolarinde said her vision for the exhibition was to bring her two passions, art and architecture in their truest form, thus, her choice of venue.

“I wanted to do something that nobody has ever done before.  There has never been an art exhibition staged on a construction site nestled in a safe, clean environment with a rustic feel to it. I wanted to bring those two worlds together that represent who I am,” she said.

An art auction was also held with the first art piece set at $10,000. Asides from that, the corporate professional with over 20 years of experience gleaned from industries like oil and gas, banking and telecommunications, confirmed that many of the art pieces had already been purchased before the exhibition.

Bolarinde also hinted at a follow-up art exhibition in Venice, Italy later this year.

She added: “I have a real passion for what I do; it consumes me, it eats me up. Inspiration comes from everything that I see; it comes from culture, from our people. You’ve seen the Ife culture. The Ooni of Ife is someone who throws his weight behind everything that I do because he knows that I stand for the culture that is Nigeria.”

Other guests included the artist’s parents, Chief Samuel Olaniyi Bolarinde and his wife, Olufunke; Managing Director of Arkland Group, Jide Olumodimu; former Minister of Health, Dr. Abimbola Ogunkelu; General Manager Corporate Affairs, MTN Nigeria, Omasan Ogisi; Nollywood actors Judith Audu and Omowunmi Dada.