Saturday 18 November 2023


 The International Institute for Creative Development (IICD), was founded by Nduwhite Ndubuisi Ahanonu. Every year, IICD opens up Art Spaces in Abuja. These experiences are exhilarating for Art lovers like me. The theme for this year was: 'Catalytic Synthesis'. It is a follow up to last year's theme: 'The Convergence.' The convener explained that synthesis logically follows convergence. Please view the link to my Blog post last year: This year, the week long art experience began on the 26th of October 2023 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel and ended at Fraser Suites on the 31st of October with the closing ceremony of an art exhibition by the duo of Dr. John Oyedemi and Akachukwu.

                                             Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa in the exhibition hall

Dr. John Oyedemi is the artiste who has produced the highest number of durbar paintings in Nigeria! I asked John why he, a Yoruba man, is fascinated by northern Nigeria art forms like the durbar. His response was simple: 'I am fascinated by the durbar. It is grandiose and spews royalty in its unadulterated form...Northern Emirs ooze royalty and a unique culture. There is motif in there that artistes can manipulate. I was fascinated by horses in the Zaria Art School. My mentors are Gani Olutokun and Prof. Jerry Buhen. I have been labelled Mr. Red because of my love for the colour red vis-a-vis my paintings.' 

L-R: Dr. John Oyedemi & Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa beside John's painting: 'Royalty Palace Splendour'

John is a lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, and the current Head of Department of Fine Art in the citadel of learning. He complains that administrative work in the University slows down the pace of his creativity in his private studio. He said that he was contemplating resigning his appointment in the University in order to concentrate on his first love, painting. John says two weeks of concentration on the paintings in his studio could fetch him his salary for a whole year in the University! He affirms that paintings are therapeutic. John's Ph.D thesis was titled 'Palace of Oppressors.' In the thesis, he dissects the charcoal market where the rich oppress others...

                     Dayo with one of Dr. John Oyedemi's paintings in the background

Akachukwu, the second artist, is a 1998 graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). Ike Chukwueke is his mentor. His medium is dye on canvas. In 1996, he started dyeing jeans for N200 and cut bamboo to make designs on them. This was an instant hit in Nsukka, where he sold out! This encouraged him to join Insight Communication for some time, where he used oil and acrylic on dyed jeans. This, according to Akachukwu, is the narrative behind his paintings. He also began to critically observe the clouds in the evenings. He said to him, the clouds looked like humans. That was the inspiration for his painting: 'Forms on my sky.' Then he began to critique novels in the African Writers' Series from a painter's perspective. This was the genesis of his metamorphosis into a full time studio artist. It was indeed a glorious week for the artists, artistes, their sponsors and art enthusiasts. Kudos to Nduwhite and his team at IICD for putting the art week together yearly...

                                 Dayo with one of Akachukwu's paintings: 'Forms on my sky'

Dayo with the terrific violinist who serenaded his audience with captivating tunes at the event



No comments: