Future masters on Journey Of Self-Discovery

‘Sleeping on Duty’ (acrylic on canvas) by Tolulope Mustapha

As the burgeoning Nigerian art environment becomes more competitive, preparing young artists for the challenges of the future requires special attention. This much a new group, Jade Art has taken on, with artists who are mostly fresh from school.

Last year, Jade Art, under the leadership of Ronke Jadesola, a former curator at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos, made its debut on the Lagos scene with Manuscript, a group exhibition of masters in drawing skills. For Jade’s next outing, the future focus is on 10 young artists.

With Journey of Self-Discovery as theme, the artists’ works in paintings, mixed media and sculptures will be on display from February 24 – March 4, 2018 at Omenka Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos. Jadesola predicted that the gathering of the young artists “will be the next best thing in Nigerian art” that breeds a new generation.

The ‘journey’, she disclosed, actually started last October through a selection of the artists. It’s strictly about artists who just graduated from school, but a small opening for emerging artists is allowed. And the criteria for choosing participants include three works that are 3-5 years old and making assessment of the artist’s progression easy.

According to Jadesola, “To achieve this project, we sent out an open call for entry submission of a variety of works from November to January 19, 2018. The selection of works was through three major criteria: creativity, originality and skill. We will showcase three works each of the best 10 artists.”

Plans are underway after the exhibition, she disclosed, “to enrol the artists for residency programmes as well as art workshops in Lagos.”

Most likely, Peju Alatise’s residency and Seguin Adejumo-led One Draw Gallery will be considered as the resource places to enrol the young artists. Among the formats, Jadesola added, “is to chose one most-creative artist after the group show and have a solo for him or her.”

Morayo Arogundade, Ubiomo Ogheneroh, Valerie Fab-Uche, Obi Chigozie, Uc Wills Odunze, Tolulope Mustapha, Jekein Lato-Unah, Lasisi Babatunde, Damilare
Akintomide Aluko, and Kehinde Akintunde-Johnson are artists of Journey of Self-Discovery.

The exhibition also features Art Talk that includes professionals across the fields of art “inspiring the young artists.” With the topic, ‘Business of Art,’ speakers include Jumoke Sanwo (founder, Revolving Art Incubator); Adejumo, (founder, One Draw Gallery and President, Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (GFA), and Jess Castellote, art connoisseur and co-author of Collecting Art.

With such energy being put into talent hunt, is Jade Art representing artists?

“Really, the goal is to represent artists, but we are not there yet,” Jadesola said. Excerpt from Jade Art’s mission statement: ‘The Studio’ – a platform for art exhibitions, under Jadé Art, would annually feature two major projects that give fine artists the opportunity to rework and deepen experiments on art. We create a seamless communication network that promotes information on modern and contemporary African art plus the art market.

“The Scout Project is set to nurture and encourage growing artists in the community and assist them in their professional development. This year we would embrace graduating art students in higher institutions/universities across Lagos State and help build their confidence to follow the path of becoming professional artists. At Jadé Art, we believe that “an artists work should evolve naturally over time. At the end of the maiden edition, artists and their artworks, with our support, will move on to the secondary market and a few will have solo exhibitions by the following year.”

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