The work of an artist far exceeds what meets the eye. Asking an artist to explain his art defeats the purpose as the meaning is only clear through search. Art itself is a science, painting the imaginary and leaving the viewers to begin to question the unknown. That to us, est super as the French will say.
One of our aims at macroshops.com is to help start-ups wherever, when ever we see a light of prospect. In this article, we extend our reach to Africa, West Africa- Nigeria to scout for shinning stars in the field of arts and craft due to the words in the air that precedes Nigerians as distinct in art.
A country with an epitome of beauty, creativity bound and tradition licking. Boasting of a population of over 180 million people and taking the ordained manifest destiny of the most populous black nation in the world. We met on one of our state tours a prospective young mind, full of creative juices and serving it undiluted – Eweje Emmanuel Gbenga, a professional Thread Painter in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State one of the 36 states in Nigeria. Meeting him, he was busy on a thread painting which according to him he has been working on for 3 months in order to attain realism and depict life surprisingly, he uses no form of water paint to interpret his works but pure thread by using different kinds of strokes and blending them. Upon a quick interview with him, telling us what his story and inspiration has been, he said ‘ thread painting to me has been a way of keeping a diary’. Indeed, seeing Emmanuels’ works, one will not but question and question more.
Born in Northern Nigeria, Kaduna State in April 4, 1990 and growing up with his family, he caught up the act of drawing he exclaimed ‘LOL!!! I would draw every object in my house, even the smallest tea spoon’. He hails from South-West Nigeria, Odo-Otin local government, Osun State. ‘Eweje’ as he is popularly called by his contemporaries described leaving Kaduna State to Osun State as a real life changer he said ‘you know historically, Osogbo (the capital of Osun State) has been a tourist attraction to foreigners. It’s preservation of culture despite modernisation is commendable’. Eweje’s educational background are not far fetched. He attended his Nursery and Primary School in Anny Int’l School, Kaduna State. Moving to Western Nigeria, he enrolled at Shonik Int’l College, Ikirun, Osun State. The fire burning inside of him could not be tamed as in quick succession, he got admitted to be trained by the eminent Textile Artist- Nike Okundaye Davies in Osogbo, the capital of Osun state at Nike Art Gallery between 2008-2010. Eweje, explains ‘learning from a legend in the art world has been a great impact to me and I am ready to tell the world my story through my works’. As a limitless man that he is, he was bent on advancing to an higher institution as he got admitted into one of Nigeria’s best university situated in Western Nigeria and the largest university in West Africa. Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). He was offered an admission in Fine and Applied Arts for a 4 year program. He maintained a pedigree of being the best student in his level and being recommended by his lecturers for exhibitions. He decided to major on Thread Painting due to its unique craft. Eweje said ‘ having explored deeply the use of thread for realism painting thereby, building and nurturing new talents as regard this medium, I knew strongly this was my strength in life and I needed to focus ln it because it gives me endless joy’. It is true indeed, that the work of an artist is an audible word to those who hear it. When asked his most expensive art work sold, he said ‘ I can’t really disclose my most expensive because I have sold alot’ when pressed further, he added ‘I remember I once sold an artwork in my first year at the University and it gave me joy being a freshman for 250,000 naira which to me now, is pretty small’.
Eweje, further expresses that being in Nigeria, and as an artist, the challenges are huge but passion speaks louder than frustration. He explains that ‘art requires money due to the need to buy materials and the marketing itself, is a challenge’ he further laments ‘Nigerians believe art works are for the rich whereas, we depict the emotions of the populace and not the rich most times’. He opened up about his support developing his skill as an artist as they were limited but now, he is ready to make something new each day and deliver a unique value and really, his works depicts his assertion. Truly, any man aiming beyond the sky will surely have an instructor. Asked about his role model and mentor, he said ‘ I have always adored the works of Babajide Olatunji, an Hyper Realist painter in Nigeria and Nike Okunadaye Davies, a reknown Textile Artist respectively’. He has been influenced by the exploits and artistry of various Nigerian artists who have gone far and wide to exhibit their art as it knows no language or skin pigmentation.
He expresses his appraisal of artists like ‘ Aina Onabolu, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Yusuf Grillo, Chinwe Chukwuogo-Ray. Art to him is life and it tells the story of man.
The timelessness of art is irreplaceable. Artists over centuries have been regarded with high esteem. Their works evolve with time, bouncing each day on the price of hours to become as expensive as it gets. To some, buying a piece of art is an investment while to some, it is a touch of creativity around them. Giving them reasons to question each moment and giving them a sense of life. The world should look out for this brain on thread. Threading his life into time. Eweje Emmanuel Gbenga is the next big thing and surely, the world of art will not but remember him.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Finalist of Visual Art Camp. Organized by the Embassy of Spain, Abuja (Federal Capital Territory) 2014 ‘ Dali Dreams on Canvas’ and 2015 ‘Bercelo: an artist between the Mediterranean in Africa’s.
Zonal Category Winner of the National Visual Art Competition 2014
Still-life Category winner of the Demian Art Competition 2013
Award for the Best Fine Artist in the “OAU Next Rated Star”