‘Connecting the Dots,’ a solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Nigeria’s fast rising visual artist, Olumide Onadipe, opens to the public on May 14 at Temple Muse, Victoria Island, in celebration of its tenth anniversary.
The exhibition, curated by SMO Contemporary Art, reflects over 40 of Olumide’s works which show 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 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 millions of Nigerian youth trying to seek better livelihoods within a totally overburdened natural and political ecosystem.
According to Onadipe, the material explored in his works – polythene bags, newspapers, jute and cement bags, electrical cables, ink, paint, wood, and metal – reflect “ordinary” Nigerian life and question their consumerism.
“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,” he added.
Jess Castellote, an art critic, said Onadipe is finding an aesthetic vocabulary and a formal language that allows him work with ideas and meanings in a much more forceful way.
“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.”
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 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 30.