The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and Oba Saheed Elegushi were among the well-heeled guests that graced the solo art exhibition of contemporary artist and architect Olubukola Bolarinde.
Ushered in with a deluge of praises, the royal dignitaries joined other notable guests like the famed largest private art collector Yemisi Shyllon; founder of Elizade Group of Companies, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo; Managing Director James Cubitt Architects Alan Davies; Managing Director Arkland Group, Jide Olumodimu, former Minister of Health, Dr. Abimbola Ogunkelu; General Manager Corporate Affairs, MTN Nigeria, Omasan Ogisi; Nollywood actors Judith Audu and Omowunmi Dada, to view the over 80 works of Bolarinde on display. The artist’s parents, elder statesman and foremost industrialist, Chief Samuel Bolarinde and his wife, Olufunke were also present at the event.
Staged in the construction site of Arkland Construction, Eko Atlantic City, the exhibition tagged ‘106 Expressions’ which marked the debut of Bolarinde as a solo artist, was equal parts culture and arts. Split into sections, one part accommodated the over 80 paintings lined successively in a meandering space. The images depicted different stories of traditions and humanities such as the Wusasa painting, an artistic tribute to the Christian community nestled in Zaria, Kaduna. Another artwork was a painting of the Ooni.
The other part of the show showcased 20 dresses that infused Bolarinde’s artistic insight through the help of two creatives Vonnemac Couture and Isi Atagamen. All ensembles were showcased by models on a makeshift runway flanked by guests. Each fabric on the runway was made in Nigeria by Nigerians.
Commending her efforts in promoting and drawing awareness to the art and culture space, Oba Ogunwusi said:
“Bolarinde is formidable to give back to society. She brings a wealth of knowledge in the arts and uses that to connect every one of us. She has so much passion for many things.”
Representing the prolific art and culture custodian Chief Nike Okundaye, the curator of the exhibition, Yinka Paramole lauded Bolarinde’s approach towards her art.
“Bukola’s approach towards her art is using it to tell African stories. Her point of reference from her usually shows the challenges and difficulties encountered by Africans on a daily basis. Each piece exhibited today has a unique story to tell.”
A trained architect from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL), Bolarinde explained that her vision for the exhibition was to bring her two passions, art and architecture in their truest form, thus, her choice of venue.
“I wanted to do something that nobody has ever done before,” Bolarinde revealed. “There has never been an art exhibition staged on a construction site nestled in a safe, clean environment with a rustic feel to it. I wanted to bring those two worlds together that represent who I am.”
An art auction was also held with the first art piece set at $10,000. Asides from that, the corporate professional with over 20 years of experience gleaned from industries like oil and gas, banking, and telecommunications, confirmed that many of the art pieces had already been purchased before the exhibition.
The evening was lit up by the pulsating beats of the cultural dance group who ushered in guests. However, as the evening progressed, dancehall superstar Patoranking, Oritsefemi and Goya Menor thrilled the audience with their performances as they enjoyed the refreshments of the evening. Bolarinde also hinted at a follow-up art exhibition in Venice, Italy later this year.
Notable brands at the event included Coca-Cola Nigeria with their premium spirit brand, Macallan, Schweppes Nigeria, Billecart Salmon champagne and Artsplit who were the preferred platform for the online auction.