‘Wooden Cloth’ art of Morakinyo, Okonkwo boost mixed media space

Interraction by Seye Morakinyo

A joint visual expression on art that is woven in non-regular medium gets attention in Lagos when Chukz Okonkwo and Seye Morakinyo show their works made from wood dust and fabrics.

In fact, the artists’ new body of work will add to the city’s expanding space of fresh art in mixed media.

While Okonkwo applies wood dust in creating relief texture paintings and crafts, Morakinyo brings into the joint exhibition, dazzling combination of fabrics and acrylic or oil.

Titled Wooden Cloth, the joint exhibition at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, also exposes the increasing thin line between art and craft.

In the decade, quite a large crowd of contemporary artists, who specialise in painting, appears to have become more adventurous, seeking texturised canvas in experimental expressions.

For these artists, materials become the pedestal on which new concepts are built, leading, most times to blurring the line between art and craft.

In Okonkwo’s work, made from sawdust and newspaper waste, it’s a safe and rich approach that generates both art and craft.

Some of the artist’s works from saw dust look functional to pass for craft. But in the paintings, he exhales quite some depth of strokes that generate resplendent narrative.

Morakinyo, whose work was used as brand for pillow and cushion designs, few months ago, sticks strictly to art in the new exhibition.

Yes, his signature in the last show remains very loud again in the Wooden Coth exhibition as the shades and hues of the paintings exude masterly energy.

Okonkwo’s thoughts on experimental art are explained in a series that derives its uniqueness among the artist’s works, from their oval shapes and non-traditional combination of materials. In one of the oval pieces titled, Dear Mom comes a tribute to his mother. He displays his dexterity of mixed media as wood fibre wire gets deodorised by acrylic. “I’m grateful to have you as my mom,” the artist writes in a text attached to the mixed media.

The artist says he “never fully understood what a mother goes through on a daily basis” until he became a parent. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for everything you sacrificed so I could be where I’m today.”

In a more painterly rendition titled, Dear Future Wife III, Okonkwo shows that his application of fibre wire in mixed media with acrylic goes beyond art that’s glamoured in naterials. Expressed in quite loud primary colours, the portraiture of a lady — with motifs all over the face and neck — creates sculptural illusion against dominating blue background.

“I draw my inspiration from nature, event, desires, aspirations, emotions, memories, passion and experiences,” Okonkwo’s artist statement explains his work. And like most artists who take a leap into the unknown, he admits the experimental period of his art.

“Recently, I’m experimenting on the possibilities of achieving textural behaviour of colours and light against shade in search of form and content.”

Morakinyo brings into the exhibition a depth of painting that creatively blends fabric on canvas.

“Every artist is a novelist, though not all novelists are artists per se. Either a fiction or whatever, you are caravan taking your views on a literary journey,” Morakinyo says in his Artist Statement.

The artist whose work appears to have taken aquatic identity keeps interpreting the beauty of marine creatures on canvas. From the living inhabitants such as diverse species of fishes to the shades of plants, there is something about Morakinyo’s palettes that coalesce beautifully with fabric materials.

More of note is the artist’s style of generating crowd effect, particularly with either plants or animals of the marine species.

“As artists influenced by their environment, and because life and art imitate each other, their works featured in this exhibition reflect emotion, mood, spirit, expression, and reaction if the artists to life”, Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, curator at Alexis, says.

“Their works presented in this exhibition depict the intimacy of the subject matter addressed by the artists.”

Chidiac-Mastrogiannis notes how the “artists’ subjects reveal both the contents of the mundane objects encountered everyday and associations of deeply ingrained memories and constructed ideals”.

Excerpts from the Gallery Statement: “These artists draw from their inspiration from things around them and their daily activities.

“Wooden Cloth no doubt is delightful for art lovers, critics and collectors. Invest in art as the future is art.”

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