From Germany, Eni’s Aworan Imole Beams Light Of Hope
A combined power of imagery and light in a reflective kind of painting technique, beams cultural illumination into the Lagos art landscape from Germany-based artist, Emmanuel Eni (a.k.a Blackman in European Kitchen). Yesterday, Eni opened his thoughts about adding more life to painting in a solo exhibition titled Aworan Imole, showing for 10 days at Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos.
In stylised figures and abstractions that lean towards drawing, Eni brings into contextual space a technique that requires no external energy to communicate. Thematically a derivation from Yoruba expression coined to represent image or picture that illuminates, the context in which Eni brings his thoughts onto canvas expands the scope of interpretation of the two words combined.
In a broader argument, it is taken for granted that every picture provides a form of guidance or illumination. What is that extra content that Aworan Imole is bringing into the Nigerian creative space?
“Not every Aworan (picture) has Imole (light),” the artist argues during a preview. “My work has been able to combine techniques and fixed many missing facts in painting.”
Some of the works on display that appear like images from family of neon or reflective materials include a crowd of figures in drawing titled Ife Aye (World Love); a seated damsel, Sisi Bembe; and an obscured image of ghost-like, among others that derives their contextual strength from the acclaimed technique of the artist.
Either in material, style or peculiar application of materials, artists, in recent times place more emphasis on the medium of expression. For Eni, the attraction is light and its b roader application. Strangely, he has been “worried” that paintings are not visible “under darkness.” So, his thoughts, he discloses, set out to challenge that tradition and give painting what he considers as a life of its own. “My painting brings illumination when there is no light,” he stresses. In fact the exhibition derives its title from the name of technique, “Aworan Imole.”
His technique, he cautions should not be mistaken as using neon or reflective material, boasting that thematically, “African philosophy is my focal point to bring back our civilization.” If anyone should be more passionate about African civilization, Eni is such an artist. “With over 30 years in Europe, I am tired of foreign land; home is the place to be.”
His passion for Yoruba themes resonates in nearly all the works, some of which include Sisi Bembe, Omi A Npe Ni Doreen, Ife Aye, Funke’s Mirror and Saaju Ki Awon Ejo Wa (before the snake came. Eni’s passion for artistic expression in the language, he explains, is based on his findings that “Yoruba is among the leading languages in the world.”
Excerpts from Eni’s Artist Statement: “Aworan Imole is not stained glass and not Lithography. It is light paintings art discovered patented by Emmanuel Eni (Blackman in European Kitchen. In the Universal Sole patent awarded Emmanuel Eni for this Art technique encompasses all works rendered and described as “Light painting and drawing technic”.
“In the Light painting Art, Eni s colour is the source of its drawing and form. The works on show in Aworan Imole exhibition feature compositions and paintings that reveal vibrant life behind neutral pictorial reference frame. The newly discovered light painting art, aligns with the nature in Eni’s paintings and plays down the aggressiveness of primary and secondary colours within the evocative genre of every particular painting, thus showing the soul of the colour and painting itself as the inner light surpasses the light outside of it.”
An excerpt from Eni’s bio states: From 1982 to 1984 he studied at Auchi Polytechnic, Nigeria, where he received an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Fine Arts; between 1986 and 1991 he graduated as Bachelor of Arts at the University of Benin, Nigeria, with his main focus on sculpture; and from 1991 to 1993 he attended the Royal Academy of Arts, London, graduating as Master of Arts (MA).