Buildings erected by the Saro returnees from Brazil, domiciled at their Olowogbowo (a Lagos settlement, almost equivalent of today’s Tinubu area); and the ones built by Brazilian returnees, in their Popo Aguda (Catholic district) bastion, have all but been pulled down. These were the Lagos classical architecture, as defined by Latin and English building styles, during the Nigerian colonial period. It defined a Lagos heritage, as against the pre-colonial aboriginal architecture, that held sway in the traditional quarters of Eko: Isale Eko, Epetedo, Okepopo and even Oshodi, the capital of the Lagos traditional war camp, though with own distinctive Tapa flair.
|King’s Collage (Founded 1909)|
Unfortunately, these buildings, supposed to serve as national monuments, are demolished all in the name of development. This shows that people in this part of the world have little regard for historic monuments such as Ilojo Bar (Olaiya House or Casa do Fernandez), which was over century old, before it was pulled down in 2016, when Lagos State was celebrating 50 years of existence.
Perhaps in no time, Ilojo Bar would be forgotten history; and those born today will never have traces of the building -- except what artists have been able to document on their canvases, sketch pads and cameras.
In his upcoming solo exhibition of 30 drawings entitled Lines and Legacy, Kehinde Sanwo takes us back to old Lagos and its dying history of architecture. He also depicts the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the city in the 80s and 90s. The drawing of fascinating strokes, monochrome treasure now as good as black-and-white photographic classics, will be on view from Sunday, 21st of October to Friday, 2nd of November, 2018 at One Draw Gallery, 74A, Norman Williams Crescent, Off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria.
Sanwo who has lived all his life in Lagos. A lover of architecture and a documentary artist, he has been able to capture some of the activities that took place at the building before it was destroyed; and in other places in Lagos. The works he titled The Lord’s Patrimony, Early Gathering, King’s Collage, Darocha Legacy, Ebun House (Petesi Andrew), all within Lagos Island and the Mainland.
“This exhibition has been inspired by two situations: the destruction of Iloja Bar at Tinubu Square and an encounter with my daughter’s home assignment,” explained the artist with over their years of studio practice, during a press preview of the works last week in Lagos.
“I was shocked when the Olaiya House, which was over a century old, was pulled down over two years ago. More surprising was that such dastardly act happened when Lagos was celebrating 50 years as a state, created in 1967. Portuguese and other colonial design architecture in Lagos are among the feature that define the city’s history and heritage.”
The artist will also exhibit figurative drawings about women’s fashion that tell stories of how they wear their native hair do. The works consist of Arewa-Onile gogoro, (Highrise beauty), Ori owo-Patewo (Prosperity-applaud) and Ewa dunni-ojo n’peti (Beauty to behold).
This exhibition will be the first solo exhibition One Draw Gallery will be hosting since it was established last year.
“Kehinde has engaged us through his paintings over the years and now through his lines he draws our attention to a way of life that we are unconsciously letting go off,” said the curator and the director of One Draw Gallery, a renowned artist and former President of Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (GFA), Olusegun Adejumo.
“The artist whose love for architecture, love of lines, desire for the preservation of culture and the need to leave something behind for posterity has propelled him to record the fast disappearing historical landscape of Lagos. This project he began over two decades ago.
“Kehinde's works are in line with our core values in One Draw Gallery, which are: to build up a strong drawing culture in the visual arts, where a stronger basics give rise to much stronger artistic expression. To preserve our testament of greatness in our history as a people: Nigerians. And to write our own story as it is expressed ‘from the horses' mouth’.”
By Udemma Chukwuma