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Moment of Reflections for Jawando

By Sunday Aikulola
15 December 2021   |   1:40 am
Recently, friends, relatives, old schoolmates of the artist, Olaseni Jawando (MFR), converged on Eko Hotels, Lagos, to grace the veteran artist’s solo show, titled, Reflection 3.

Mondiru Sarumi ( left), Chief J.K. Randle, Seni Jawando, General Taju Olanrewaju, Prince Shamusi Ope and Tajudeen Agoro at the exhibition

Recently, friends, relatives, old schoolmates of the artist, Olaseni Jawando (MFR), converged on Eko Hotels, Lagos, to grace the veteran artist’s solo show, titled, Reflection 3.

The show, which had over 40 pieces of different media, including prints on textile, mixed media paintings, drawings, sculpture, paints, woodwork and murals, attracted high networth guests and arts aficionado. It was a celebration of Jawando’s success story in the genre. In his four decades on the job, he has had several shows at home and abroad.

Speaking on the show, Jawando said: “Now you know when we are younger, you know where the energy goes, when you become older and then reading, it becomes spiritual and deep. Spiritual is the root of everything and when you get to the root, your perception changes for the better. You cannot really compare time, maybe life is different, but now the belief of 20 years ago is not the belief of now. We have shifted. There is no retirement for an artist. It is a lifetime search. I will continue to paint until the paint and brush drops.”

Originally, he had wanted to study architecture, but eventually went became a fine artist. He had his training at the Yaba College of Technology in the early 70s and finishing his studies with degrees from Norfolk State and Old Dominion Universities in Norfolk, Virginia.

However, beyond arts, he was an athlete of repute in his younger days at Ahmadiyya College, Agege, Lagos, winning gold for Lagos at several competitions. He also impacted knowledge as a teacher while practicing as a studio artist.

Speaking on the artist, Retd. Major Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju, former General Officer Commanding (GOC), 3rd Armored Division of Nigerian Army, said: “We met about 60 years ago as young boys at Ahmadiyyah College, Agege in form 1. We had a good time together, but then, he showed signs of a creative artist from school. I am not surprised that he has done all these, looking at his artworks today that cut across so many boundaries: cultural, social, international and others.”

The former Minister of Communication noted, “when you look at his background too, he has done exhibition in almost four continents together. The quality of his artworks is quite impressive, excellent and it is something I would recommend for people to keep in their residents. If you look here, you find how creative the works are with lots of seriousness put into it. I am so impressed with the nature and the texture of the artworks. They are very rare and it represents our culture, our heritage.”

Bashorun J.K Randle (FCA) said, “what makes an artist outstanding is his uniqueness. He sees what ordinary eyes don’t see and would capture it in quest of something very excellent that will grab your attention. That’s what Jawando stands for. But unfortunately, artists need the right environment to survive because so many have wobbled and fumbled and sometimes ended in penury. We have a huge task in our hands to support them.”

Interrogating the work, Randle said, “Jawando’s imagination is superlative. He is a great artist. I was very impressed with a particular work that depicts ‘Idumota’ area in Lagos as of the old: the chaos, the confusion and the trauma of being trapped in that scene were captured beautifully. Exactly what he captured is what we are still battling with today, forty years after. Another work also showcased the housing problem in Lagos, which is still on. Some of his works are powerful social commentary. He obviously knows what he is talking about.”

Tajudeen Agoro, President, Eko Club, Lagos said, “I have known him for over forty years. He is my cousin and we share the same name. The finishing of his works has this uniqueness. He has been consistent in his ideas and they way he executes his artworks. Seni is over 70 years in age and still exhibits the strength of a young person in art. I respect that as well. He is someone that tries to navigate the upcoming artists to follow the trend positively and not be in a hurry for money. To me, making brand name is the key.”

For Prof Alade Akintonwa, a retired professor of toxicology, University of Lagos and President of the Ahmidayya College Agege Old boys’ Association, the work is really tremendous, “and for people who appreciate art, these are some art pieces yearning for possession. That is why you see a lot of dignitaries in Lagos who came to socialise and reconnect with the artist.”

He said that Jawando’s work is a reflection of what goes on in Lagos in the 50s and 60s. He added, “we are proud of him and we want people to appreciate and support art. Art and tourism is the main key that holds economy all over the world. Most of the works are very expensive and you cannot put value on them. Some are over 20 years and some are just recent paintings. This is what he should leave behind as a legacy for the next generation of artists.”