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Alexis Gallery Shows ‘Wooden Cloth’

This Saturday, September 22, Alexis Galleries will display recent works by Chukz Okonkwo and Seye Morakinyo with an art exhibition titled Wooden Cloth.
The exhibition of paintings, sculptures and mixed media will be official opened by Prince (Engr.) Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon, revealed the organisers.
To Morakinyo, artists shouldn’t be limited to one medium, rather they should explore new medium, which “is refreshing.” You will find his expressions intriguing and spectacular. His unique way of portraying his thought on canvas is amazing and exciting, says the curator and the gallery owner Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis.
“Every artist is a novelist, though not all novelists are artists per se, either a fiction or whatever, you are caravan taking your views on a literary journey,” says Morakinyo.
As artists influenced by their environment, and because life and art imitate each other, their works featured in this exhibition reflect their emotion, mood, spirit, expression, and reaction to life. Their works presented in this exhibition depict the intimacy of the subject matter addressed by the artists. The artists’ subjects reveal both the contents of the mundane objects encountered everyday and associations of deeply ingrained memories and constructed ideals. These artists draw from their inspiration from things around them and their daily activities.
I draw my inspiration from nature, event, desires, aspirations, emotions, memories, passion and experiences. Recently, I’m experimenting on the possibilities of achieving textural behaviour of colours and light against shade in search of form and content,” says Okonwko.
Chidiac-Mastrogiannis says: “Chukz has also mastered the act of recycling with sawdust which he has been experimenting with for almost twenty. The result is fascinating and colourful sculptures of wood fibre. His choice of traditional and contemporary medium shows how versatile and open-minded the artist is. His idea and execution make his art fresh, inspirational and relevant.”
Chukz Okonkwo was born in Enugu State, Nigeria. He exhibited great interest in art during the early stages of his life and had his first formal art lesson while in high school. A graduate of Fine Arts from Institute of Management and Technology Enugu State, where he emerged as the best graduating student in 2001. He has won several art awards and has held over 55 group and five solo exhibitions both in Nigeria and abroad. His works are found in many public and private collections. He has curate and adjudicated a number of art exhibitions and workshops in Nigeria.
Seye Morakinyo was born on 1979 in Igbo-ora, Ibarapa Central Local Government area, Oyo state, Nigeria. He studied Arts at the Federal Polytechnic Auchi in Edo Sate from 2000 to 2002 with OND certificate and subsequently proceeded for his HND (Higher National Diploma) and graduated in 2005 with distinction in Painting.
He is a full time studio artist in Lagos. The first year of his practice year was at Aina Onabolu Studio at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lago as an artist in residence with other artists. He works in collages, pebbles and his meticulous linear expressions. You will find his expressions intriguing and spectacular. He has participated in several art shows and programs within Nigeria and abroad by proxy. He is an in-house artist at Alexis Galleries, Nigeria.
He is a member of the Society of Nigerian Artists. He lives in and work in Lagos.


In eight years, Alexis Galleries have engaged in the presentation and dissemination of contemporary art in the media of painting, drawing, mixed media and sculpture. We have established ourselves rapidly as one of the best galleries in Nigeria, a meeting place for artists, collectors and enthusiasts of art.  
We have supported artists in organising and showcasing their works and talents through numerous exhibitions, as we desire to take the Nigerian artists to greater heights in strengthening the ever vibrant Nigerian Art Circle. Support of local artists, not only getting their works exhibited in our gallery but also grow their careers and help promote their fascinating and important projects.
The exhibition which is sponsored by Pepsi, Delta Airline, Amarula, Nederburg, Cobranet Internet Service Provider, Cool FM, Wazobia FM/TV, Chocolate Royal, The Avenue Suites, Art Café and The Homestores Limited, will run until Saturday, October 6, 2018.
Artwork by Morakinyo

‘Why sawdust is my best medium’

Experimentalist and painter, Chukz Okonkwo, works with what many may call funny medium; sawdust! Whenever he visits the wood market to gather the material, workshop owners are always happy as he helps them clear their place.
But if they knew the amount Okonkwo makes from the waste, certainly they would not let him leave without paying for it. “When I go to the market where they are cutting wood, they will be so happy that I’m packing the waste. I go there with my truck and take bags of sawdust from there and they are happy,” said the artist from Anambra State. “I add adhesive to sawdust and mix them to achieve clay like texture.”
When the mixture is dry, he creates the piece and starts etching, inscription and add colours. “After mixing them, I start modelling to create the images I have in mind.” As simple as this might sound, the artist who graduated from Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu State, said “it takes me time to do.”
Okonkwo said he started working with the medium in early stage of his life as an undergraduate. “My father was a contractor with Julius Berger; he supplied them timbers for years. So, as a child, whenever I go to the timber shades where they cut timbers, I notice a lot of waste. I see them pack it to one corner and burn it. It was when I gained admission into the higher institution that I started to experiment with sawdust. I was naïve then; you know, when we start with something new, it looks funny, but now, I have mastered the use of the medium. I can use it to create anything now.”
Thirty of his recent recycled sawdust works will be on display this month at Alexis Galleries, on Saturday, 22nd September to Saturday, October 6, 2018. The exhibition, titled Wooden Cloth, will feature Seye Morankinyo, who will show twelve fabric works along with Okonkwo.
As a painter generally, Okonkwo has also evolved. His paintings for this show are colourful with bold strokes unlike the earth colours he was known for. “Recently, I met a friend of mine and he told me about contemporary art; we know about traditional, modern art; my grandfather was a traditional artist, a native doctor and a caver, so I know a lot about monotheism and polytheism. He told me, ‘if you’re exhibiting outside the country and want to make a mark, and for people not to know where you are coming from, make paintings without motives’. He said those motives we use, say where we are coming from.”
When asked what is bad about incorporating African motives to his work, he said: “It is not bad, they are in my paintings and sculptures. I just decided to be more expressive, depending on what is on my mind,” adding that “my concern in this exhibition is mainly the material, which is what gave birth to the theme of the exhibition, Wooden Cloth.
His paintings for this exhibition will focus on body shaming. “I recently read a lot about body shaming. Body shaming is a global issue now.  Women are being victimised because of their body structure. There was a lady I met and she told me when she was twelve years she was victimized because of her breast size most time she went to school.”
Talking about one of the paintings titled Tonia's Story, he said women should “be comfortable with the way they are. And as an artist, I’m so kin about emotions, love and relationship with people. Why not be okay with what you have and be comfortable with it?” he asked.
He draws inspiration from nature, event, his desires, aspirations, emotions, memories, passion and experiences. He is currently experimenting on the possibilities of achieving textural behaviour of colours and light against shade in search of form and content. The works are accompanied with inscriptions.
All Okonkwo’s subjects are women. Also talking about another of his paintings titled Figure Eight, he said “I love women a lot.  I’m talking about good physic, because I use models, through this I have come across a lot of women, nude images and so on, so when I came across this lady, I saw her as my ideal structure to work on.”
One fascinating thing about his paintings are the texture which the artist said he achieved with modelling paste. “I use modelling paste to texture the canvas, though it is very expensive. Why I incorporated this texture to my paintings is to portray our continent, Africa,” said the artist.
“One ever evolving wonder within the creative cycle is how to express human feelings in work of art. This can be achieved by judiciously exploring the expressive qualities of line to make an impression beyond what is obvious,” he asserted.
The exhibition is curated by the CEO Alexis Galleries and the Homestores, Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, who said: “The theme of the exhibition is like the title, Wooden Cloth. The artworks are really very nice and colourful. I’m really looking forward to the show.” 
The exhibition is sponsored by Pepsi, Delta Airline, Amarula, Nederburg, Cobranet Internet Service Provider, Cool FM, Wazobia FM/TV, Chocolate Royal, The Avenue Suites, Art Café and The Homestores Limited.
 By Udemma Chukwuma