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At Alexis Galleries, Sam Ovraiti waits for tomorrow

By Gregory Aiustin Nwakunor
07 December 2022   |   4:08 am
Waiting for Tomorrow, a solo show by Sam Ovraiti, will hold from December 10 to 24, 2022. It is the first solo outing of the artist after his retrospective exhibition at Alexis Galleries in 2019.

Alexis Galleries

Waiting for Tomorrow, a solo show by Sam Ovraiti, will hold from December 10 to 24, 2022. It is the first solo outing of the artist after his retrospective exhibition at Alexis Galleries in 2019. Born in 1961, and currently working in Lagos, Nigeria, Ovraiti is known as one of the best contemporary artists to have tested the limit and boundaries of colour, over the years.

In this show, his oeuvres, from 2006 to 2022, are presented as epiphanies into the significance of appreciating time and living in the moment. His personal experience has made him realise that the tomorrow he was waiting for had already happened and the works that would give him values had already been created. The works that were, therefore, once abandoned were swiftly completed, and thus, became a thing of yesterday.

In this momentous realisation, his colour orchestration, good draughtsmanship and boldness to expand his range of materials remain evident. His heavily-layered impasto, where he allows the nature of the medium to influence his style, his stylised forms, his subtle and contemplative watercolours as well as pastel works are rendered with infinite dedication to the complexities of colour.

He began exploring pastel as a medium in 1987 in a bid to introduce it to the art community as a formidable medium. For the next four years, he used the medium constantly and made portraits of different people in the process. By 1991, he stopped making portraits in pastel and moved into abstract watercolours.

Ovraiti said: “This exhibition shows that what we put in our cup is what will spill tomorrow. When we are shaken by life the masterpieces of yesterday can only be shown.”

He added, “we expected some new works to be added to this collection without knowing that you can only spill from your cup what you have already created. We had to go through the archives to look for masterpieces to be exhibited.”

While saying Waiting for Tomorrow is an exhibition that sees tomorrow as yesterday and places emphasis on living in the moment, Ovraiti noted, “today is the tomorrow we were looking at yesterday.”

In the show, he asked the question, “Where is tomorrow?” According to him, it is “a representative of the next 24 hours will come soon. Yes. When I planned this exhibition at Alexis Galleries, I was waiting for tomorrow with such promises that I will create new works with new revelation and new results but now I know that tomorrow is already my yesterday and today.”

He said, “all the works created and exhibited here were created yesterday waiting for tomorrow. Although I am better now, no new work was added to this collection in five months. Today is the time you create the tomorrow you are imagining. In fact, you ended tomorrow yesterday and today is all you have left.”

For Patty Chidiac Mastrogiannis, Founder, Alexis Galleries, “Ovraiti is a name that does not need much introduction but his relentless experimentation and exploration with materials keep on showing his works in new ways that require new curiosity to fathom.”

She said: “He had his retrospective exhibition here in 2019 and after three years, he is showing up with a philosophical outlook that is influenced by personal experiences.”

Ovraiti holds a Higher National Diploma from Auchi Polytechnic and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Benin. Between 1985 to 1993, as a lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Ovraiti trained and tutored a number of artists who have become household names in the contemporary Nigerian art world. He is known as the most expressive watercolourist in Nigeria and his exploration of chalk pastel in the 1980s popularised the medium and drove its acceptance in Nigeria.

The show is sponsored by: Pepsi, Tiger, Indomie, Mikano, The Guardian, AMG Logistics, Haier Thermocool, U.P.S, Aina Blankson, Cobranet, Art Cafe, Wazobia TV, Nigeria Info FM and Rentokil Boecker.

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