A huge work by Balogun delivered during his residency in Sweden
The last time artist, Adeola Balogun, held a solo art exhibition; it was titled Soundspiration, with the story beginning at the Omenka Gallery in Ikoyi, Lagos, where the exhibition opened. But according to Balogun, days after the show opened at the Ikoyi-based gallery, his attention shifted to another project, Matter Redirected, which was to be in far away Uttersberg, Sweden. For Soundspiration, which opened a day before his journey to Sweden, it was all about bringing a musical tone into his art of imploring discarded materials with some of the works produced from shredded rubber and rendered in life size figures combining some musical instruments.
Matter Redirected, packaged as a series of workshops and exhibitions which lasted two whole months, Balogun is now back in Lagos, revealing his experience to colleagues, journalists and art enthusiasts recently at popular art centre, Quintessence. As displayed through power point presentation, Balogun?s works, cast in metal and drawings, is a continuation of his themes of conservation.
Apart from its appeal to the eyes, the project stresses the recently-found passion of Balogun, a senior lecturer at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, for animals with characteristics of strength and vibrancy.
According to him, the central theme of the Swedish workshop and exhibition is solely about ?giving another life to discarded things? which the artist has explored truly in the last few years to an end whose semantic importance is not lost on observers.
With 14 metal sculptures, 18 drawings for one show and 14 sculptures, 16 drawings for another, Balogun took charge of the opportunity offered by the trip. For instance, his renditions in metal and drawing stress the combined strength and elegance of the horse while the crude, perhaps, bestial characteristics of the bull seems to challenge and stretch the artist?s skills.
Two years ago, while undertaking a project similar to this one, Balogun used the bull as the driving force of his central theme in a solo art exhibition titled Ants and Giants.
Facilitated by Quintessence, a gallery whose partnership with the Swedish centre dates back to the visit of Swedish artist, Eva Zetterval to Lagos, five years ago, the workshop in the Scandinavian country is yet a loud statement of intent as to what Quintessence represents.
Not wanting to take credit beyond what it has done however, Moses Ohiomokhare, curator of the Quintessence gallery, revealed that Balogun?s trip was jointly financed by Sweden-based Astley gallery and Nigerian Embassy in the country.
?This is being funded by Quintessence, Astley Gallery at Uttersberg with the support of the Nigerian Embassy in Stockholm Sweden, Ohiomokhare said.
As a direct result of the Swedish trip, Balogun said he has an offer to hold an exhibition in the United States before the end of this year.