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Oyewole Explores Rugs And...

Some years ago, one would not have thought using other materials as media on canvas rather than the conversational ones would have been possible. Today, artists explore any material available; fortunately, they are accepted by art collectors and loved by art enthusiasts. 

Olufemi Oyewole, a contemporary Nigerian artist, has joined this trend to explore other materials.  “I’m presently experimenting with unconventional materials, majorly rugs and carpets,” said the Lagos based artist. why the shift? “I felt like I needed something more, something beyond the conversational media… but something colourful.”

From afar, you would swear that the works on display, in his ongoing solo show titled Switching Lanes, are oil on canvas; when you move closer to the pieces on the walls, they are not, but some pieces of discarded rugs. “I concentrate on the reuse of its (rug) industrial waste to avert or minimize its contributions to environmental pollution. I engage with these repurposed materials to investigate how fundamental changes in culture can affect one’s perception of identity.” 

When he went back to school for his Master's degree, Oyewole knew that he must come up with something new which led him to explore the rug and carpet. But When he began to work with the medium, it came with lots of challenges as the artist was used to painting with only oil and acrylic. “The first piece I did…I wouldn’t say it was scattered, but you have to move back and look at the work to be able to enjoy it.”

Cutting several sizes and shapes of rugs, he used the carpets as brush
strokes, which he meticulously fused like a puzzle. “I creatively paste the carpets at different depth and directions to create a painterly effect on either the canvases or wood panels,” he explained. “The inspiration is from the Georg Lloyd era,” he added

To him, “regardless of the material you work with, you should not lose the essence of your training. You can move from one style to another, but there should be something that connects it, to me, is draftsmanship, sound understanding of elements and principles of art and design is quite important.” 

The exhibition opened on Saturday 26, February, at the Bloom Art Gallery in Lagos, Nigeria, featuring twelve colourful rug works and acrylic on canvas paintings. The artist revealed that the show runs till March 23, 2022.  

Oyewole said his works are thematically linked to human expressions and the aesthetic relevance of African culture. He draws inspiration from the balance between shape, lines and colours gradients and creates expressive works. 

“My paintings are the result of my endless quest to capture and simplify the essence of life’s quiet moments, the in-between scenes where nothing much appears to be happening but which speak volumes about our individual and collective humanity. Known primarily as a watercolourist, I believe a painting should be creatively understood beyond the academic introduction of colours as pigments.”

Olufemi Oyewole graduated from the Obafemi Awolowo University in 2012 with BA, Fine Arts and had his Master's degree in 2018 (MFA painting) from the same institution.

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