Whether traditional or contemporary, realistic or abstract, an artist choice is guided by expressive purpose. And Stanly Dudu’s numerous drawing attest to this. His works revolve around women and children, which are done by memory and imagination. “Basically, my works are works that reflect the society, particularly women and children because I tend to favour them more,” he said.
Dudu interprets every day activities of women. The resulting images thus reflect the artist’s feelings about the subjects, which are worth discussing. The woman in the village, the woman who sells food by the roadside, the house wife who attends to children and market women are the subjects you come across in his drawings. “The connection between me and market women is that I find them very interesting. I find it very hard to walk pass them. I want to look at them, the arrangement of the baskets, the gesticulations, the transactions; all these things are what inspire me about the market women. I kind of drawn to that,” he asserted.
His works are lavishly composed and they offer bigger than life experience that paradoxically lead viewer away from the real world and its surface appearances into the inside spaces of the mind and spirit; though Dudu said his works are not spiritual. He achieves this inward view by balancing a realistic drawing technique with addition of symbolism and allegorical elements. His true ambition is to remind us of where we are coming from, where we are and where we are going.
Dudu mainly work with paper and charcoal, but introduced colour to his works last year during his second solo exhibition: Next Episode. His works were generally monochrome, an identity he created for himself before he decided to add colour to his works. “I realized I needed an identity and fortunately it was at the period people got tired of seeing coloured works everywhere. By the time I was showcasing more of these, I was welcoming, I was receiving accolades,” he hinted.
Dudu depicts a lot of children participating in all sorts of play, such as playing “mummy and daddy.” He said these set of works were inspired by his childhood experiences. His major influence he said: “Is my brother, Emmanuel Dudu. He is one of my major influences. I grew up seeing him doing drawing, attempted the ink, do creative things. It wasn’t just him alone; I had another brother though he fell by the roadside. I saw the two of them work. With his (Emmanuel Dudu’s) own little achievements, I was able to pick up from there. I must confess he has been a very big influence in my life,” he said and described his brother as “my mentor”
He is working towards presenting something to his viewers which said: “In the next five years I want to move beyond this, I want to experiment things. I want to do arts that the society can associate with; I mean art that can reach out to the whole society, even beyond because I am equally nursing the notion of doing art internationally. Like in residency programmes, even participate in the auction they do abroad.”
Since 2009, Dudu has been producing captivating works which people often ask if they are paintings. Like most artist, Dudu asserted that his has challenges. “The materials I work with, people will say they are cheap, just paper they will say. The papers are not easy to come by. I travel abroad, to Spain, to acquire papers,”
He is an Auchi Polytechnic graduate with Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in General Art in 2003 and Higher National Diploma (HND) in Painting in 2006. He is a full time studio artist.