?An art work in the Unseen Expression series by Omojola
Following his last solo art exhibition which was titled My Experience, one of the arts circles? most dynamic figures, Funso Omojola, has continued his reflect on his journey into the creative lane of visual arts.
His latest solo show is titled Unseen Expressions and it opened at the Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos last Saturday, July 13. Reeling with a measure of the biographical still, just like a series of his last show, Omojola said the new outing is a way of recalling ?my perception of art when I just came to Lagos.?
And saying this show was spurred by the success of last year?s open air exhibition which also held in Lagos, at the Ikeja part of the state would not be far from the truth, Unseen Expressions is a two-week show that will run until July 27 at the famed Yusuf Grillo Hall School of Art, Design and Printing at Yaba College of Technology.
Omojola, at the preview session, said the responses he got from collectors at the last outing were very encouraging and inspiring enough for him to remain in the business. Unseen Expressions has about 10 paintings and 38 prints of world famous inspirational people and their statements on different issues as part of the show. These include prints of revered names such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Indira Ghandi, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Mahatma Gandhi, Julius Ceaser, Obafemi Awolowo, Wole Soyinka, Maclom X, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Chinua Achebe and among works on display are ?Crossover,? ?Celebration,? ?Face of Lagos,? ?Unseen Expressions,? ?Ocean Wave,? ?Circle of Life? and ?Contentment.?
In ?Ocean Wave,? a medium-sized painting in acrylic arranged in a set of three pieces (measuring 12?12 inches) are combined to create some feelings of wave movement just as Omojola uses the ?Circle of Life? to illustrate the natural circle of life most living beings pass through. That is to say, all living things have a moment at which they come ?alive? and that beginning of life marks the first point on the circle of life.
One other outstanding painting is the portraiture of a lady dressed in beautiful colours with a head gear to match, with the green-coloured background of the work complementing the entire composition. On its own, ?Celebration,? captures the visual appeal of a talking drum in a four-piece panel in a star-shaped format.
His journey into Lagos back in 1987 is captured by Omojola captures in Unseen Expressions through a 25-piece panel showing different objects of decorations, forms and images of his first encounter with Lagos as the panels are all rendered in black and white.
Omojola today can boast of over two decades of practice in Lagos, but not even the sweet thrill of that is enough to colour the fact that his joy and passion for art before his coming to Lagos in the late 1980s was far from ?colourful?.
?Art was beautiful in monochrome, but I never thought it could be expressed in colours,? he said.
Among works in the assembly that tugs at the heart is ?The Land is Green? which easily explains the concept of Omojola?s Unseen Expressions probably more than he could. The work is a decorative portrait of an unidentified lady sandwiched by two panels inscribed with flowers and the artiste says ?My art is not just about me alone, but (about) getting people involved.?
A man always open to unconventional elements, it is another point of interest apart from the fact that Omojola?s idea of words on marble cuts across ages and generations. This is perhaps, most exemplified in the artist finding Tupac Shakur?s quote: ?For every dark night, there is a brighter day,? making it into the list.
But before Shakur realised the potency of resilience enough to state it in clear terms, Omojola puts it across that Awolowo already captured this by saying: ?After rain comes sunshine, after darkness comes the glorious dawn. There is no sorrow without its allay of joy; there is no joy without mixture of sorrow. Behind the ugly terrible mask of misfortune lies the beautiful soothing countenance of prosperity. So, tear the mask.?
And there is yet another quote credited to Hollywood legend, Marilyn Monroe which women would find very fascinating: ?I don?t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.?