17 May Discussions and disagreements – Odutokun and Oshinowo

Kolade Oshinowo created the artwork ‘The conference’ in 1975. In the seventies and eighties, he experimented with abstract, mixed media artworks. These abstract artworks were a marked deviation from the landscapes and figurative artworks he was known for at the time. The abstract pieces, like ‘The conference’ present a more adventurous side of the great artist.

Another Zaria Alumnus provides a different point of view. In the gouache on paper artwork, ‘The Siege’, Gani Odutokun presents what appears to be a protest – a large group of people in the process of taking over a building. It could have represented a student protest – there were many at the time. Or it could have been a labour protest. Whatever the original idea may have been, the artwork presents the spirit of protest and communal struggle.  

It’s done in Odutokun’s flowing, fluid style. His gouache artworks tended to be a bit more restrained than his oils. But this motion of restraint is relative. Restrained for Odutokun would have been incredibly fluid for many other artists.

Both artworks tackle human engagement ‘The Conference’ from the standpoint of discussions.  ‘The Siege’ from the standpoint of action and protest.