106 Expressions captures the Nigerian spirit with a novel twist
The art collection ‘106 Expressions’ co-curated by Yellow Dot’s CEO, Olubukola Bolarinde, made a splash over the weekend with over 100 art pieces displayed to dozens of art enthusiasts and collectors who convened at the A&A Towers, Eko Atlantic City, Lagos. 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.
“I wanted to do something that nobody has ever done before,” Bolarinde revealed. “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.” A trained architect from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL), she commenced her earliest painting in 2020, amassing a total of 85 pieces that project the Nigerian people, cultures, values, prominent landmarks and figures including a portrait of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi.Bolarinde 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, it comes from our people. You’ve seen the Ife culture — Yoruba culture — beautifully celebrated tonight.
The Ooni of Ife is somebody who throws his weight behind everything that I do because he knows that I stand for the culture that is Nigeria.”The evening, graced by well-heeled guests including the artist’s parents, elder statesman and foremost industrialist, Chief Samuel Olaniyi Bolarinde and his wife, Olufunke; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Oba Saheed Elegushi; Alan Davies of James Cubitt Architects; founder of Elizade Group of Companies, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo; Managing Director of VFD Group, Nonso Okpala; General Manager Corporate Affairs, MTN Nigeria, Omasan Ogisi; Managing Director Arkland Group, Jide Olumodimu, former Minister of Health, Dr. Abimbola Ogunkelu, Nollywood actors Judith Audu and Omowunmi Dada, among others, was one of many eccentric occurrences. To help capture her vision, the event was split into sections. One part accommodated all 85 paintings lined successively in a meandering space. Split into sections, one part accommodated the over 80 paintings lined successively in a meandering space. The images depicted different stories of traditions, history and humanities such as the Wusasa painting, an artistic tribute to the Christian community nestled in Zaria, Kaduna.
Another artwork was a painting of the Ooni while a portrait of the kerosene lantern titled ‘Atupa’ reflected Bolarinde’s childhood memories.Another 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.
Commending her efforts in promoting and drawing awareness to the art and culture space, Oba Enitan who graced the occasion, 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.”Also lauding the artist was Yinka Paramole, who represented the curator of the exhibition, Chief Nike Okundaye. In her speech, she remarked that “the generous collection of artworks on display was created with a variety of media, mostly acrylics and oil on canvas.
The application of layers upon layers of paint creates a mesmerising texture infused with vibrant colours that arebound to keep audiences captivated.”The works, she concluded, were a stepping stone to greater heights for Bolarinde in the arts community.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. The evening was lit up by the pulsating beats of the cultural dance group who ushered in guests. However, as the evening progressed, dancehall superstar Patoranking, Oritsefemi and Goya Menor thrilled the audience with their performances as they enjoyed the refreshments of the evening. Bolarinde also hinted at a follow-up art exhibition in Venice, Italy later this year.
Notable brands at the event included Coca-Cola Nigeria with their premium spirit brand, Macallan, Schweppes Nigeria, Billecart Salmon Champagne and Artsplit who were the preferredplatform for the online auction.