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Olisa Nwadiogbu Returns with Effort

Tomorrow, an art exhibition en-titled ‘Effort’ will open at 2.30pm in the main exhibition hall of the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos. It is the latest solo showing of Oli-sa Nwadiogbu.The Lagos-based paint-er for the past two decades has executed commis-sions as a sculptor, painter and bronze caster, and has worked with some of the notable masters of Nige-rian modern arts. He is using the show to display some of his recent work experiences to the public, but the heavily bearded artist and culture activist has even been in the arts for a much longer time.However, the works which art enthusiasts will feast on tomorrow as the show opens is divided into three loose categories of original engravings on tiles mounted on panels: acrylic on canvas, mixed media on canvas and mixed media with bottle tops and cans. Explaining, he disclosed that, “‘Effort’ is a collec-tion of my experiences and travails before, dur-ing and on the way from the wilderness. Effort is captured in acrylic on can-vas of my old engravings (original), some recent paintings and mixed me-dia presented for public consumption.’’Popularly known as Olisa, the Onitsha, Anam-bra State-born art studio operator hinted that the show, packaged by his Gon studio and the authorities of the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos, is actually a reminiscence of his stu-dio art expirence. Beginning tomorrow through to December 23, the exhibition of painting will feature recent oil and acrylic and mixed media works. The artist whose last solo show was enti-tled ‘Wilderness’, said he was using the show to also thank God for the year.The exhibitor offers a background to the outing:“After some years of creating large pictures in oil and water colour, I felt the need to use original engravings starting from 1993 to explore a new and deeper direction in my ar-tistic journey. “Interestingly, my ex-ploration followed the encounter with Edwin Inyang, who was then an informal student of Bruce Onabrekpeya School of art. “I must also say that the chance meeting with In-yang in 1987 has not only left an indelible mark on my works but has brought out an inner creativity through engravings.“Although I have always worked with foils, using engraved panels as master plates, numerous years of deep interest in engrav-ings have crystallised into a peculiar technique and new art mission and vision.“Today, these works on exhibition started as preliminary sketches on pieces of paper and then transferred to the lino, board or even tiles mount-ed on panels. “The images are engraved out with the help of engraving tools which are manually operated. Colors were introduced on the engraved patterns to provide contrast to the image.“Ordinarily, patinas deployed in flat engrav-ings give the work a deep illusion with three dimen-sional effects that create the feeling of weight and objectivity.“On the other hand, the other bodies of works in this exhibition are conveyed on acrylic, oil, enamel, and spray paint on canvas. “The items are mostly derived from my past figu-rative works. In this body of works, playfulness and spontaneity remains central in my message,” he revealed. Nwadiogbu’s works present him as a free- thinking creative person. He paints with thick paste and serves colour as it comes while his approach to figure is most intrigu-ing. He also experiments with forms and explores the vistas of colours.He explained that his focus in the exhibition is renewal, hence most of the materials he used as vehicle in realisation of this feeling were to show his effort, making deliberate moves to show that artists should put effort into their creative endeavors.

His words: “Through drips paint, scratches and super-imposed paint on canvas, my works also task all to appreciate the pure and undiluted ab-stract nature of art. “The third category of works in Effort showcases a mixed media platform with everyday objects such as bottle caps, plastic bottles and cans, horns, dolls, jiggida, raffia, discs, seeds, wires etc.“In using everyday dis-carded objects as a me-dium for art, my aim is to once again draw our at-tention to the increasing and difficult challenges of our environment and the quality of life in a contem-porary Nigeria.“Basically, like most Ni-gerians, our education is/was delivered in the West-ern European culture and tradition.”


*this was published in the Daily Times newspaper dated: Monday, December 15, 2014

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