Artist Ayoola Shodade, an alumnus of the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), hosted a press preview for his forthcoming exhibition, ‘Creative Visual Axioms’, at the Yusuf Grillo Gallery of the institution in Yaba, Lagos, on Monday, May 30.
It was an opportunity for the artist to showcase some of the works to go on display during the exhibition; his first solo, opening tomorrow at the venue. Shodade who is about to round off his National Youth Service in June, is currently teaching Art to OND students at the College.
Shodaism, a term coined from the artist’s name, is an ingenious concept which he has invented to make himself unique and relevant in the world of artistic creativity.
“In my art, I like being unique. I have been experimenting with different materials because I do not want to be lost in the crowd. I combine sculpture with painting and textiles in my works and I call this style Shodaism,” he said.
“I like using waste materials. My works are a combination of different media like; sawdust, cowries, beads, stones, fiberglass, metal, Ankara, sand and many other things.” About 11 of his pieces were on display at the press preview and the artist revealed that the exhibition would feature some 30 artworks.
Most of the artworks are of various media incorporating the artist’s style of using the most unexpected materials. There are however a few more traditional artworks, including pencil sketches and one piece rendered in acrylic on paper, titled ‘Blessing’.
Some of the works
In relation to the title of the exhibition, some of the artworks are visual representations and metaphoric signifiers of life’s many truths and beliefs. Shodade also employs Yoruba proverbs and idioms in his work.
Perhaps the showpiece of the collection is ‘Bi’su Eni Ba Ta’, based on a Yoruba proverb woven around the idea that one should keep third parties out of domestic affairs. The work depicts a man and a woman with their heads joined together over a calabash of boiled yam and oil.
According to the artist, the man’s hand is longer than the woman’s, symbolising his role as leader and protector. The calabash represents something secret, while the oil is an object of conciliation.
‘Family Bond’, another arresting piece which doubles as a painting and craft work of sorts, is Shodade’s contribution to the celebration of Nigeria at 50. According to him, the figure represents Mother Africa and speaks about unity. The figure’s breasts, which are made from broken plastic bottles, represent the country’s resources. This figure has CD plates for eyes, plastic bottles for nipples, circular pieces of Dunlop slippers for ears and other paraphernalia.
‘Olofofo’ which is Yoruba for ‘gossip’ extols the need for discretion. For ‘Good Game’, the artist has attached a piece of racket to a painted background decorated with strips of lace and Ankara.
Textile and sculpture
Shodade worked at Nichem Wax and United Nigeria Textile Company (UNTC) before gaining admission to YABATECH. The artist’s experience in the textile industry has contributed to his use of fabrics in his art practice.
Sodade is also a keen sculptor. “I really love sculpture, which is why I also include it in my works,” he said. A member of the Society of Nigerian Artists, he is dedicating the exhibition to fellow corp members who were murdered during the April election violence in some northern states.
He decried the act as a terrible waste of human talent and added that some paintings dedicated to the slain corp members and illustrating the violence, would be unveiled during the exhibition.
‘Creative Visual Axioms’ opens at Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, on Thursday June 2 and runs till June 17.
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