CONNECTING THE DOTS, a solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Nigeria’s fast rising visual artist Olumide Onadipe, opened to the public on May 14th at Temple Muse in celebration of its tenth anniversary.
The exhibition, curated by SMO Contemporary Art, reflects over forty of Olumide’s thought-provoking works which show an amazing artistic dexterity, sensitivity, and breadth in tackling urgent issues of global consumerism against the backdrop of daunting environmental pressures facing millions of Africans everyday.
His signature sculptures, made from up-cycled and re-purposed plastic shopping bags, water sachets, juice packs, cement bags and newspapers are presented alongside his lesser known paintings, which are a continuation of his eclectic palette of rich materiality and textural freedom, showing human forms emerging out of intricate tangles of roots and leaves.
Connecting the Dots exposes the different layers of Onadipe’s artistic personality in which he grapples with identity and migration vis-à-vis a universal yearning for global citizenship and communication across a world of bold color. Onadipe’s interpretation of these universal themes are presented through the tying, knotting, folding and melting of vibrant re-purposed materials used to create striking sculptures with life size legs and geometric shaped torsos and heads. They are a powerful counterpoint to the delicate brushstrokes of his paintings depicting human forms yearning towards emotional harmony and environmental balance.
“In Connecting the Dots we see an artist who boldly questions the status-quo, and whose art has swept him to the very cusp of the rising tide of contemporary art coming out of Nigeria,” said Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, Artistic Director of SMO and curator of the exhibition. “His expression is in-sync with the aspirations of Nigeria’s exploding youth population trying to over come the daunting environmental pressures faced by over twenty-two million Lagosians everyday.
The materials I explore, polythene bags, newspapers, jute and cement bags, electrical cables, ink, paint, wood, and metal reflect “ordinary” Nigerian life and question our consumerism,” commented Onadipe whose work is referenced against Africa’s rich history. “A continent that supports the economy of the rest of the world, now has need for support and a people of earliest inventors and inventions have become consumers.”
“For those of us who have followed him for more than a decade, his new works do not present themselves as a surprise or a rupture, but as an evolution and deepening of ideas and formal solutions,” said Jess Castellote, noted art critic. “He is finding an aesthetic vocabulary and a formal language that allows him work with ideas and meanings in a much more forceful way.”
Onadipe graduated with a Bachelors’ degree in painting from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2008 and earned his Masters’ of Fine Art in 2012 from the University of Lagos. He has taken part in numerous group exhibitions in the United Kingdom, Ghana, and Nigeria and is in important local and international collections.
Connecting the Dots is supported by Veuve Clicquot, and runs through August 30th, 2018.