The Creative Rebirth
Taking time out of the hustle and bustle of society often helps to clear the mind and think. Similarly, Arthouse Foundation (AF) has made it possible for artists to remain unhinged within the metropolis madness that is Lagos. Located in the heart of Ikoyi, the AF has created an enabling environment within the art world for artists and creatives to reach their full potential, void of society’s chaotic clutter. This year, AF housed Dipo Doherty and Olumide Onadipe for a three-month period where they stood inhibited and unhinged in finding the redefinition of their creative expression.
The brushstrokes and caricature figurines found in Dipo Doherty’s signature style capture a strict balance between the mechanics of movement, and the fluidity of space. Though at AF, Doherty churned out monumental pieces of art that have paved the way for his creative style and expression. While speaking with him at the closing reception of the 3-month residency, he explained that he began exploring areas with the “abundant use of colour, three dimensional sculpture exploration, and free flowing expression,” which takes a slight turn from his monochromatic, convoluted subjects. When asked what his most favorite piece was, he confessed, “The General on the Horse, because it was the first colour piece from the residence.” Given the complication and technical composition of the General and his Horse, we begin to see cues within Doherty’s new body of work that deviate from a strict palette of black-and-white to a more playful and expressive form of artistic expression.
With this piece, we see how the General’s uniform creates dynamic composition with the Horse, whereas, the foreground of the painting highlights vegetation and foliage. With the use of colour theory, the artist is able to express his dialogue in a more playful manner. Doherty is found mixing hues of blue with flesh tones of pink, to create subtle airbrush-like greens. The monumental piece rightly wears the badge of a victor’s battle and has uncovered more ground for the artist to explore, express, and thrive in. Doherty showcased a total of three series of his latest work, all rendered in color.
Olumide Onadipe’s sculptural and artistic approach takes mundane objects, and converts them into three-dimensional entities. “Ideas are littering the roads: what I see triggers what I do,” he explains. His manipulation of polythene bags truly creates beauty from commonplace items. Onadipe expresses his creative approach within the confines of silence and self-reflection. The art he created during this residency seems to weave together like pieces of thread through fabric. The artist often reiterated silence and the need for self-reflection and preservation. For example, Adam Alone links to conversations that man has (or is expected to have) with himself, within the confines of his everyday hustle, and responsibility. He expresses, “before marriage, there has to be a moment of solemn reflection where man must be alone to think.” In more ways that none, the residency was poised with adequate alone time for the artist to sit, think, and reflect on his creative approach, as well as the vibrant sculptural elements in his three dimensional body.
The Eye was the piece he was most fond of, because of its level of skill, time, and complication. The use of copper wire, telephone chords, jute bags, nylon, and cement bags all combine to create an all-seeing Eye which uniquely places a white iris on a yellow eyeball. The skill required was so cumbersome for the artist; he needed assistance to bring his imagination to life. At a point within the three weeks he worked on the piece, Onadipe found himself with the items that formed The Eye scattered on the floor of his room. By some sort of divine enlightenment, each piece came together to form the eye that he placed sideways. He pointed out the use of vintage telephone wires as a means for man to communicate with himself as well as his surroundings. The textural ingenuity of the media used with this piece cleverly conceals the everyday ‘trash,’ as it were, and transforms it into ‘treasure.’
In their most favorite pieces, both artists use an eye as a means of being in touch with their work and the world around them. Upon studying The General on the Horse, you will find that the General only has one eye. Whether or not it is his third Eye, or an all-seeing Eye, Dipo Doherty chose to represent the reputable leader with one eye. Olumide Onadipe chose one eye to frame the line of communication between man and his environment. All in all, both artists have extended the boundaries of the creative world, all the while quietly tucked within the chaos of the Lagosian backdrop.
An art auction is coming up later in the year, where their pieces will be up for grabs. You and I both know my pockets are not that deep, and I did the smart thing to befriend both artists. In any case, next week, we are hopping back on the interior design bandwagon. Just in case you were wondering why I chose to speak about art this week, it’s because Art lives within the confines of space.
See you same time, same place next week?