Saturday, December 10th, 2022 was an amazing day, featuring the Hellurrrandom Art Fair, which took place at Norma, 6 Kafi Street, beside Ikeja City Mall.
The Art Fair featured paintings of emerging and established artists including Adavize Jamiu Ibrahim, Luqman Olabode Onipede, Ndifreke James, Michael Olusanya Omole, Kelly Omoefe Ovwigho and Omodesola Fagbenle. The art pieces included hyperrealistic sketches, oil on canvas paintings of Lagos living, including Danfos, a baby on a tire, animation paintings on acrylic canvases and a host of other works of various sizes, in keeping with the theme of the Exhibition, ‘Freedom’.
The Art Fair featured an exhibition of both the primary and secondary art market, with Private Collection pieces, including a 33 by 33.5 inch oil on canvas masterpiece ‘Makoko’, by John Yaktal, relishing the beauty that comes from even the most uncomfortable places, and brightens our lives with inspiration.
Isaac Adegoke Jimoh’s 12 by 10 acrylic piece ‘The Beautiful Sea’ captured the serenity and coolness of the sea with such precision and verve, Kayode Famoye’s ‘The Fulani’ captured a 24 by 20 acrylic work, showing Fulani drummers in their glory. And Luqman Olabode Onipede’s 9 by 20 inch oil on textured canvas piece titled ‘Graceful Reflection’ featuring geometric shapes and rainbow hues, reflected on thoughts of breaking free from disillusionment to thoughts of a better life with freedom in all ramifications.
Fine Artist, Illustrator and Designer of 26 Album Covers for Jazz Artist and Afrobeat Legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Mr Lemi Ghariokwu, was the Guest of Honour. He examined the works by the artists and commended them for their impressive work.
Luqman Olabode Onipede’s works tackled head on the theme of ‘Freedom’, with a 24 by 51 inch oil on canvas painting, paying homage to the legendary Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, bare torsoed, hands in the air, with fists clenched, head decapitated and replaced with the Nigerian flag, indicating freedom as every Nigerian’s cry, on a background sprinkled with love emojis, indicating a genuine love for our fatherland.
15 by 38 inch oil on wooden panelled ‘Ijakadi’ painted a physical fight for freedom between two chickens in a hauntingly beautiful grey background that strongly mirrored varied reasons to validate such fights in human existence, such as for freedom and against oppression. This piece was created in 2019.
‘Isiju’, Onipede’s 18 by 23 inch oil impasto on canvas piece, was an explosion of colours, with loosened hand cuffs, descriptively showing the eye opener effect of freedom.
Onipede sounded a ‘Call of Freedom’ in a dazzling 24 by 48 inch oil on canvas creation, with a northerner playing his instrument. Luqman played with geometric shapes to create the character’s features, juxtaposing the colours yellow, brown and blue to highlight the soothing effect of freedom, right on the canvas.
Finally, Onipede’s presented an untitled 27 by 42 inch oil impasto on canvas piece, in hues of blue, pink and green, which spoke volumes, showing the freedom that ordinarily comes from the simple gesture of a hug, between two parties willing to let go of racial and ethnic differences; a gesture strongly needed in our present Nigerian reality.
Adavize Jamiu Ibrahim, another amazing painter chronicled human life through his charcoal sketches showing the riches of human existence, drawing on mundane activities like washing hands and swimming to show diverse themes such as safety and resilience as seen in 30 by 25 inch ‘Hygiene’ and 25 by 30 inch ‘Underwater’. Adavize’s grit built by consistent proactivity and hardwork allowed him to try out various artistic media including arcylic and gouache on canvas pieces, as in the 30 by 24 inch piece, ‘Coexistence’ to depict the need for humans to coexist peacefully as fish do.
‘Superficial’, Adavize’s 20.5 by 25 inch charcoal and gouache piece depicted how a person’s outward appearance often does not define how they are on the inside. While one can be perceived to be toxic representing decay and sadness like dying leaves, a person’s heart and mind could be as beautiful and pure like blooming flowers, with green leaves depicting hope, renewal, and revival. Adavize’s art at the Hellurrrandom Art Fair was arresting; You just stopped in your tracks, looked and pondered deeply. Perhaps, the most arresting of Vize’s sketches was ‘Paradigm of Virtue’ settled magnificently on an easel and stopping most on their entry into the fair. The 18 by 24 charcoal and acrylic masterpiece certainly caused one to look at themselves, forcing them to recognise the authenticity and truth of themselves as they are, and thus their virtue.
Ndifreke James’ art collection, a breath of fresh air, showcased his strengths as a sketch and animation artist, in acrylic on canvas paintings, with a 3 foot by 30 inch piece called ‘Big Fix’ of a super hero latched unto a building, as well as a beautifully painting azure sky, in various hues of blue, brown and green called ‘Blue Sky’ in 24 by 18 inches. Ndifreke’s ‘Love Yours’, a 16 by 22.2 inch painting was patriotic themed in its green white green hues, incorporating a character with a face cap, burying his face on his knees. Ndifreke also featured ‘Smile’, a 12 by 16 inch acrylic piece in happy hues of pink and black, and a 2 by 2 foot painting of a masked black collared animation character with a signature hair cut and sun shades. The painting was inspired by a pen and paper sketch, transformed into a painting, as well as his love for warm colours. Ndifreke’s art was so much fun to behold, and a sure Generation Z winner.
Self taught artist, Michael Olusanya Omole’s pieces reveled in the freedom of being Nigerian at heart, with his oil on canvas creations. This was expressed in the joy of a child rolling a tire on a 21 by 25 inch piece, called ‘African Boy’ created in 2019. On a 30 by 53 inch piece, a danfo bus’s reflection is caught in a puddle of water on an insufficiently busy street, beside a Keke Napep after a cool rain, with the skies giving a mild grey colouring, deeply reflecting the joys in the simple pleasures, such as freedom of movement in Nigeria, reflected in our constitution. ‘My Guardian’, a 32 by 42 inch creation told the story of Omole’s guardian, Iya Alakara, whose words of wisdom in an apposite season drew him back to the right path, and to art as his earthly supply. ‘Catastrophe’ a 44 by 28 inch painting in orange, black, green, white and brown hues showed the dangers lurking on an ill prepared journey after an explosion, and finally, 21 by 25 inch ancestor, showcased Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, spilling into a pot pourri of constitutional protections such as freedom of association.
Omodesola Fagbenle’s 3 piece series of acrylic on canvas flower paintings in 14 by 18, 18 by 24 and 19 by 36 inches captured the fragility of a flower in bloom, not forgetting the ugly stages it goes through to attain such beauty, as very akin to human existence.
Fagbenle also had a lone acrylic on canvas piece of red apples, in beautifully dark maroon hues, wowing viewers in its simplicity.
Kelly Omoefe Ovwigho exhibited 3 acrylic on canvas pieces, exhibiting the freedom to express diverse emotions, including the joy of a child in 16 by 20 inch ‘Ecstasy’ (2020), and the series, ‘Self Discovery’ (1&2) (2022) in the dimensions 30 by 30 inches and 34 by 34 inches, showing the journey toward self discovery in bright colours, such as blues, greens, reds, pink and purple.
It is interesting to note that there is a huge market for Nigerian art works, as recently Ben Enwonwu’s Sculpture, Squatting Figure, was sold by auction at Art House Contemporary Ng for $33,750, while Abiodun Olaku’s painting, Fellowship Study, was also sold by auction at $10,000, without diminishing in any way, the importance of exhibition agreements and other legal protections for artists.
There was also a paint and sip soirée, which featured Michael Olusanya Omole patiently guiding the participants on painting their own versions of a 12 by 10 acrylic piece by Isaac Adegoke Jimoh, titled ‘The Beautiful Sea’, with live acoustic music plucking gently. It was deeply therapeutic and a whole lot of fun!
If you are worried you missed out on this amazing event, the Exhibition Catalogue is still available for free. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to take a look for free. Watch out for the next one in April 2023!