Synonyms Of Children, Pets As Springboard For Gbadebo
From domestic-related soft subjects, a young painter Oluwaseyi Gbadebo brings onto canvas children and pets in what appears like a fresh breath into the Lagos art gallery scene. For Nigeria’s art space that has a few names in the old and second/third generation of masters, young artists like Gbadebo brings the hope of a continuum in the country’s creative excellence, particularly in painting. At Quintessence, Lekki, Lagos, Gbadebo is currently sharing his skill in realism paintings via a solo exhibition titled Synonyms, which opened a few weeks ago.
Though less than three years of post-school training, Gbadebo is already having his first major solo exhibition in a Lagos art environment where galleries hardly take risks.
“We started working with Gbadebo in 2012 when we noticed the potentials in his paintings, stimulating our desire to give the emerging artist a solo exhibition,” said Moses Ohiomokhare, curator at Quintessence Gallery.
Gbadebo is apparently a portraitist, but with a statement to make. As much as portrait painting appears common among young artists, the story behind each work makes a lot of difference. For Gbadebo, there are quite some dramatic expressions in the faces of children that flash too fast for people to notice in reality. For examples, expressions such as “Hmmm… I hear you,” which is more likely to be an adult’s sarcastic look; the rage of a baby, supposedly “born with a silver spoon; and a joyous “Ayo” whose brightness comes in between, are quite interesting aspects of children hardly noticed by adults. In fact, the portraits titled Ibidun, Daniel, Great, among others could be useful materials for scholars who are interested in researching children behaviour.
Apart from the story or themes behind the portraits by Gbadebo, the technique and style implored, particularly in the application of colours suggest an artist whose strength may not necessarily be in realism. Still on the choice of subjects, Gbadebo explained his thoughts: “children for the future, and pets for loyalty.” For Synonyms, the area of pets focused is exclusively on dogs. “Yes, dogs for now,” he said. “In the future I might focus on other pets.”
The gallery stated: “Gbadebo is a product of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso and a realist who tries to represent his subject truthfully.
“He is thrilled by expressions and has found great joy in children and animals. His style is different from the stylized works that are in the market today. The body of work he has created also tends to show how much he has been influenced by animals in his youth as pets. Dogs are called man’s best friend because of their intelligence, loyalty and devotion and children being innocent and loving beings are best of friends of dogs. There is the saying that dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression. If this is true, then their presence is therapeutic in homes.
“Gbadebo had his National Youth Service experience in Benin City in 2013 and, it has also had some positive effect on his work.