02 Oct Barber – Sculptor and Painter

Is Abayomi Barber a painter or a sculptor? Most people would say painter. His surrealist paintings are easily recognizable and have enchanted art enthusiasts for decades. Landscapes, brimming with hidden objects; incredibly detailed character studies that meld reality and fantasy. Yet Barber has always viewed himself as much a sculptor as a painter – maybe

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25 Sep Kine Aw’s art

Kine Aw’s themes are inspired by the world of women in the Sahel: round forms, beauty, tradition versus modernity. Most of her paintings and sketches have a distinct cubist style, characterised by organic geometric forms.   She utilizes powerful outlines in various colours to create artworks that explore the universe of women. Her art tackles

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26 Jul Kaloki Nyamai – The past, the present and the future

Mr Trump, in colourful language says, we are inferior countries. We bristle. How dare he? But we also question ourselves. Might he be right? Whose fault is it? The colonialist who eviscerated our pre-colonial systems and who still treat us like indulged children? Or should we blame ourselves? Should we be hopeful? Have we been

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23 Jul Sunny side up – Kofi Agorsor’s abstract canvases

The title of the artwork ‘Accumulated Wealth’ is deceptive.  It’s understandable to see it as a paean to the virtues of the accumulation of riches. It is not. That’s not to say Kofi Agorsor has anything against riches. He does not.  In this artwork and in many of his other abstract artworks, he views wealth

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21 Jul Side by Side – Camara Gueye

The sweeper sweeps a lonely street in Dakar. It’s a hard, thankless job. It doesn’t pay him a lot. But he must earn a living. Nobody notices him. Except the man sitting at the street corner, who is probably worse off. He’s unemployed. The sweeper sweeps. The chicken gets out of the way. The job

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17 Jul Papers of Freedom

My uncle, Eddy, lived in Leeds, UK for many years. He schooled and worked there before returning to Nigeria in the eighties. He didn’t burn his passport when he returned but, I suspect he vowed never to return to Leeds. He was sick of living in a foreign country where he didn’t belong. He got

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28 Jun Onobrakpeya’s Musicians

Since respect for elders is all the rage at the moment, we thought we’d praise the ultimate elder, Bruce Onobrakpeya – the storyteller of Agbarha-Otor, master printmaker, probably Nigeria’s most famous living artist, and certainly the most influential over the past 5 decades. The artwork ‘Musicians’, is a rare sketch on aluminium printer’s plate done

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24 May Towards Beauty – Abiodun Olaku

You might not see a link between the Niger Delta landscape and the Argungu festival in the North. But then you’re not Abiodun Olaku. Olaku is obviously one of the country’s most respected artists. He has earned his reputation the hard way or maybe the beautiful way, judging by his paintings. Olaku has worked consistently

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25 Jan 2 Views of Accra

Glover’s Lorry Station It’s a scene Glover has explored consistently – the bustle at Accra lorry stations. The lorries with their crazy signs and graffiti – a raucous, moving display panel for goods and wacky ideas; the passengers getting on, getting off, always moving.  As with many of his themes, he finds order and rhythm

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06 Dec Stations of the Cross – Worship as style and statement

1969. Bruce Onobrakpeya would create his Station of the Cross paintings for St. Paul’s Church, Ebute Metta. He would go on to create these artworks as etchings. With the consent of the Church priest, Father Kevin Carroll, Onobrakpeya interpreted the idea of the Stations of the Cross as a local event using African characters to

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17 Oct Amon Kotei – A Lightness of touch

Someone said to me a while back that he was sick of paintings of struggling African market women. Too grim. I understood. I’ve also always preferred the expression of markets and market women as something other than toil and hardship. Amon Kotei’s Accra market paintings offer us the joy and warmth of the women in

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03 Oct Masters as Servants

Text for The Master’s Exhibition Catalogue 2018 by Mydrim Gallery   Masters as Servants Service There are no masters here. Not in a conventional sense, anyway. These are not wondrous, other-worldly beings floating in a bubble of their success. No, these are no masters. These are servant, when you think about it. They have toiled

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20 Sep ‘We say Goodbye’, Oil on canvas by Duke Asidere

There’s a teenage boy at the airport. He looks defiant, resentful, a little angry. But lurking somewhere, there’s also love and hope. His father might see these emotions or maybe not. He might just sense the anger. It might compound his own anger and despair. He might feel powerless, frustrated. They look through each other,

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15 Aug To Commemorate Gani Odutokun’s 72nd Posthumous Birthday, I remember his Missing Masterpiece: Dialogue with Mona Lisa

Born on this day, 9th August, in 1946, Gani Odutokun is celebrated mostly for conceiving the accident and design theory, which defined the Zaria Art School in the 1980s and influenced the course of contemporary art in Nigeria. Odutokun explained the theory thus, The guiding light behind most of my work is the concept of ‘accident and

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30 Jul Sina Yussuff

Fluid, lyrical and expansive are words that come to mind when one thinks about the art of Sina Yussuff. He had a warm, yet uncomplicated way of engaging with his subjects. Yussuff belonged to a golden generation of Ahmadu Bello students – David Dale and Kolade Oshinowo finished at the same period. The trio would

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05 Jul Masks and Mystery – Kolade Oshinowo’s mask

Kolade Oshinowo mask paintings are rare. It’s a theme he explored in the seventies and the eighties, but has mostly ignored in the ensuing decades. It’s interesting about mask-themed artworks. It feels as if, with each passing decade, there are fewer of these artworks. That’s understandable though. In the seventies and the eighties masquerades and

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28 May An African Madonna – Amon Kotei

Amon Kotei is noted for his paintings of robust Accra women. These paintings, done with such etherealness that the women in spite of their size appear to float on his canvas, were his ode to the lovely Accra women of his childhood and adulthood. He loved Accra women, he would often say with a twinkle

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03 May New Realities

Mbanefo is a sculptor and painter from Onitsha. Over the past few decades he has created amazing sculptures from various wood sources exploring themes like mortality and maternity; and capturing and processing the Nigerian cultural experience through masquerade forms and totems. Mbanefo’s paintings are heavily influenced by his sculptural roots so you’ll find linear figures,

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