With Remilekun, Badmus opens a new vista in wearable Art
When Morenikeji Badmus, a biochemistry graduate from Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, decided to become an artist, she had, by her own admission, only seen Chief Monica Oyenike Okundaye at work.
The woman was the only professional artist she had seen work dexterously on textile as well as other media of artistic expressions without stress. This was in Osogbo during the Osun Osogbo Festival in 2013.
Badmus’ interest in textile art was thus buoyed by this chance meeting with the woman called ‘Mama Adire’.
“I was so impressed with what I saw in Mama Nike, and I felt like being part of what she was doing,” she said.
In 2014, she decided to have a four-month training in the production of wearable arts at Nike’s gallery in Osogbo.
She, in fact, redeployed from Edo State to Osun, because she wanted to have further training on textile designs.
On completion of her compulsory national service, she rejected a job at the National Agency for Food Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC) for the making of wearable art as an entrepreneur.
Today, she has no regret venturing into the art, as she is not only an entrepreneur, but also providing fulfillment for the young artists. Her words: “I have been able to express myself through textile.”
Having studied biochemistry because of societal pressure, Badmus confessed, “science was it when I was going to school, but today, it is no longer the in-thing. Entrepreneurship is it in Nigeria.”
The ever-smiling lady said, “after graduation, my parents assisted me in getting a job at NAFDAC, and I turned it down, because I’m more fulfilled with art. It is more of fun than the money, though I have not made much money from it.”
The textile artist, who is set to open her first solo show, ‘Remilekun’, said, when she launched her brand, Moolori Wearable Art in April 2017, her target was to hold a show within the first year of operation.
Expectedly, her debut show will open today and will be on till December 29 at 21B Eleganza Garden, Opposite VGC, Lekki in Lagos.
It will feature a collection of 25 unisex wears, T-Shirts, shawls and wall hangings made from adire enriched with mainly Yoruba motifs and designs.
Badmus said it was a challenge getting a gallery to show her works, as many of them were not interested in giving an upstart opportunity.
“Being a new face, they turned me down,” she said.
The artist, however, found one willing gallery, which was ready to ‘stop her grief’, ‘remilekun’, as the theme of the show suggests.
According to her, the exhibition is about her journey, struggle and politics in fashion.
“Industry people are more interested in urban fashion than traditional,” she said.
The show will feature tie and dye, as well as batik. “I do both,” she said. But for her to be able to put a pattern on a plain fabric, she has to do the batik, which involves drawing a pattern on the fabric before dyeing it.
“If an idea occurs to me, I usually first capture it on paper as a sketch before transferring it to a fabric. But my sketches are just rough ideas of what I actually want to put on fabrics,” she said.
According to the artist, her works are a blend of pop culture and the rich Yoruba heritage in textile, which “make them interesting. Though, these works are art, they represent my heritage.”
The lady, who has always being a cultural person, having grown up in Owo with grandmother, and also, seeing the popular Igogo Festival, said, “you know, people are familiar with paintings and sculptures, but when it comes to wearable arts, many people don’t really appreciate them as works of art. So, we are trying to change such perspectives; what I am doing is to incorporate our cultural heritage into the urban fashion. We also want to impress it on people that they don’t necessarily have to hang their artworks on the walls; they can wear them; that way, they become functional arts.”
Badmus, while speaking at a preview session of the show at her outfit on Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos, said: “I have noticed that adire wash or fade, as it were, so, I kind of sought a way out to solve the problem of fading, which often make material and cost of production very high. Again, I am trying to incorporate pop art into my adire in order to make it eco-friendly while promoting Yoruba culture.”
Badmus, who was at this year’s Pan African Festival, Los Angeles USA, where she exhibited her textile, revealed, “I was impressed with the way adire was appreciated.”
She is not in a hurry to return to the sciences, noting her ‘biochemistry study’ will, however, come handy in environmental issues.å
Be that as it may, biochemistry, in a way, has impacted the content of her art, especially, the drawings.
“Definitely, it was not a lost knowledge,” she proudly said. “For now, I’m done with biochemistry until I’m involved in environmental issues as a way of giving back to Nigeria.”
To enhance her skill in the industry, the artiste, who sees Nike Okundaye as her mentor and mummy, is currently in a fashion school, learning illustration and merchandising aspects of textile art.