“The first intention was to share my ability to recreate reality, to make realistic drawings or paintings. As a child, I was delighted by the joy and awe that realistic artworks gave to people. I pursued this intent vigorously in my formative years as an artist and worked hard at improving my craftsmanship, filling sketchpads with drawings. There were the encouraging, happy parents who proudly showed off my realistic work/portraits to friends and family.
This phase continued strongly into my university days, and I produced portraits on commission. But I soon began seeing how appearances and realism must have more than just mimetic intent. Soon I was filled with the idea of using art as an expression, a force for positive change in society. As I made paintings and spoke with enthusiastic collectors, I began to appreciate that the idea was everything- the reason for creating art. I started seeing art as a functional, visual testimony of human experience/ existence.
Living in a growing third world economy with a huge population density and diverse ethnic groupings give one so much fodder. As a Nigerian, the documentation of living, of being, of striving became like a daily commentary. The always-on internet provides news on the go, allowing for immediate engagement with trending topics of the day.
The other intention for creating art was to use it as a source of income. This was manifested easily in the days when one painted commissioned portrait. It is easier to speak about art being an income generator when one mimics reality or paints human figures. It is more daunting to sell idea-based art that is abstracted and focus on stimulating cerebral activity.
The next motivation soon became my ability to communicate subtly, as happens in poetry, with the audience, and sitting back to watch the interaction/discourse around my work.
That was when it became important to do other things on the side to make money, as art became the weapon for communicating. As one grew older, one felt more responsibility to better the situation in his environment. Creating a better world became the driving force. That was when I found my voice as an artist. I began to visually communicate the chaos of daily living. Art became a tool for making sense of the chaos. My work became an opportunity to step back and gain insight on topical issues in my environment.
Thus, my work evolved. Soon also, I gained the patronage of dedicated collectors who followed my growth as an artist, men and women who felt an affinity with the themes of my work. Art became part of our shared history, speaking to our sensibilities. Of course, one held on to good craftsmanship. As my life as a professional artist advanced, so also was the need to improve on one’s craftsmanship. Art, more than likely, will outlive us. We must stay dedicated to translating human experience, for posterity, with the hope that more people will join the revolution that art is brewing. We act for that change as artists.”
Torpedo Factory Art Center
My practice and works in ARTX 2022
My work has grown from an urgency to the stories learned along the way- in life and my travels. When people looking at my work often ask for something of a practice of over 20 years in the making, the only way to stay fresh is to reinvent oneself. My body is forced into new, unfamiliar states (places and mindsets) to cut into the spirit. The painting Dismember Pool 2 expresses this. In time, the work evolved in a very biographical yet communicative manner that reached outwards. Since I had started with acrylics, a medium that allowed me to force out sensations and ideas, the picture surface gets heavy.
With all the information coming as you move, it becomes necessary to work fast on multiple canvases. The time between lets me evaluate the marks that I have made. The work grows outwards- I only guide it. I am like a conductor of an orchestra. There are disjointed elements everywhere- that's life. We try to make sense of it all.
Kizomba Dancers documents recent interests in dance and the moving body. The rhythms flow through art as we freeze the moment. But again, the artist tries not to leave a stagnant taste in the mouth of the viewer. I make suggestions that follow the movement of the dancers while. The surface flows like water with ripples. Maybe you will hear the music.