Adébayo Bolaji and Muraina Oyelami
From April 19 to May 9, 2017, Tafeta will present new works by Nigerian artists Adébayo Bolaji and Muraina Oyelami. The dialogue show is a study in influence and similitude in modern and contemporary artistic production.
Presented side-by-side, early works on paper by the older Oyelami reads as a perfect precursor to large canvas paintings by the younger Bolaji. Without ever directly referencing the older artist, Bolaji seems to be channelling their shared Yoruba heritage in his new body of work.
Typical of early Oyelami works, the pieces presented in the exhibition make rich reference to folklore, the people and places in his surroundings. His palettes of embellished earth tones blur representational forms with abstraction, all within marks that allude to the hard contours of carved, Yoruba antiquities. Fusing traditional Yoruba motifs with what has been interpreted as German expressionist painting, his work exemplifies the bold lines and colours that frequent the visual art associated with early work from the Oshogbo School.
Bolaji’s work are a commentary on the state of the human condition, focusing on the ironic and bizarre aspects of everyday life, with a consistency in his approach to the retelling of varied stories Layers of bold colours, a multi-textural feel and scale give the works a very strong compositional presence.
With both artist referencing their shared Yoruba heritage and expressive use of line and colour, seeing the works together feel like the early as well as later works by the same artist – Bolaji’s youthful energy adding the contemporary edge to the works.
Muraina Oyelami was born 1940 in Iragbiji, Osun State, Nigeria. He remains part of the Oshogbo movement and has continued to work with younger generations of artists who have taken to this School of art making. His works have been exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art and feature in the collections of the Studio Museum Harlem and the Iwalewa-Haus in Germany.
Adébayo Bolaji, born 1983 is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in London, England. His background of film and theatre, both in acting and screenplay-writing, compliments Bolaji’s exploration of newer media in the visual arts. The artist believes that ideas choose the medium of execution. His painting method follows a marinating process for the pieces to be completed, which is why Bolaji often steps away from the canvas while simultaneously working on multiple projects.
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