Friday 14 December 2018


Two notable artistes: Prof. Tola Wewe and Charly Boy Oputa held exhibitions at two unique venues in Abuja on the 8th of December, 2018. Tola Wewe's was labelled 'Apewo', which literally translates to 'works of art that attract a multitude of viewers' while Charly Boy Oputa's was titled 'The Struggle'. Tola Wewe's exhibition had a very different flavour from Charly Boy's. While Tola Wewe's is of the University of Ife, Department of Fine Art genre (I am also a 1980 alumnae of 'Great Ife'), Charly Boy is a Musician and Social activist. 65 year young Charly Boy (husband, father and grandfather), popularly called 'Area Fada' and Convener of the #OurMumuDonDo Movement takes pride in being the 'conscience of the masses'.

I begin with Tola Wewe. Tola had over twenty paintings on display at Thought Pyramid, Abuja. Most of Tola's paintings were abstract and his favourite medium was 'mixed media/acrylic on canvas'. Tola made me nostalgic about my late friend, Prof. Segun Adewoye, a Physicist and Art enthusiast who was an avid collector of Tola's works in his lifetime. Apewo, the painting which bore the title of the exhibition was mixed media on canvas - an abstract painting which depicted a multitude in one location viewing 'something' (Tola's exhibition?). Other paintings were: 'All roads lead home'; Ayaba (The king's wife); Awon eleye (Witches' faces in phases); The eye is sharper than the knife; Aje (Divinity of wealth); Gathering at the marketplace; Dance of the gods; Arrival of the visitors; My dream comes true; We walk through the fog of reality; Seven songs; 'Bojuboju' (Hide & seek); 'Irewole' (Fortune has come to us); Before the cell phone was born; 'Afifilaperin' (The one who killed an elephant with his cap); Eyo masquerade; Forms in the dark, etc.

Why the title: 'Apewo' for Tola's works? The answer to this question can be gleaned from Prof. Moyo Okediji's preview of Tola's solo exhibition. Prof. Okediji is a Nigerian Art Historian at the University of Texas, Austin, USA who said: 'The Ifa priest says your painting is from the lineage of 'Digbe', a special cocktail of 'Amuluodu' that rarely appears. It refers to a specific literary verse called 'Apewo'. The original domain of the painting is therefore musicality. Tola's artworks in Apewo are a combination of literature, music and body language in a series of ritualistic gestures reminiscent of performance art. Tola has become a vessel of divine messaging, conveying encoded motifs of spiritual vibrations from above the abode of mortal beings...'  See

Charly Boy's exhibition was about his many 'struggles' with the social and political system in Nigeria. On display were unique, never seen in public photographs of Charly Boy, depicting him complaining about multifarious issues like: Confusion (in Nigeria); Identity (as Nigerians and not as ethnic bigots); Struggle (for transparency/free & fair elections/...); #MeToo campaign (women coming out of the closet about sexual harassment); Money in politics (prebendalism); Pollution (in our cities/Niger Delta, etc); Social media (indiscriminate use of fake news/hate speech on many platforms); Bridges (across Nigeria); Responsibility (of the government & indeed the citizens); etc.

During Charly Boy's exhibition, there was a Spoken Word interlude by five outstanding performers:

*Reginald Ofodile (Poem) - 'Individuals in communities & some models'
*Brain Box (Spoken Word) - 'Fighter', fighting for a better Nigeria
*Deji Ige (Poem) - 'Where are those days?', reminiscing about the good old days in Nigeria
*Ms. Bukunmi Olukitipi (Chereography/Dance) - 'The Struggle', depicting the many struggles of Charly Boy)
*Bobby (Tap Dancer) - Making joyful noise with his shoes 'tapping' on a wide wooden board

Indeed, it was an evening to remember, 'migrating' from one exhibition to yet another - both of them had distinct messages via different platforms...

1st photo below L-R: Mrs.Yemisi George, Charly Boy Oputa & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa
2nd photo below L-R: Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa, Prof. Tola Wewe & Mrs.Yemisi George

Related Links

*Art in the corridors of power


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