Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Osagie joins Onobrakpeya, others at Olambe exhibition

NIGERIA’s master print maker and greatest experimental artist, Bruce Onobrakpeya is 83. And as part of activities held to celebrate the renowned and well-documented icon, a group exhibition opened at the prestigious Princess Theresa Iyase-Odozi’s GreenHouse Art Empowerment Centre in Olambe, Ogun State. The exhibition tagged “Nigerian Visual Artists and Politics, opened on Saturday, September 12 and will run for two months. The official opening ceremony of the group exhibition, was complemented by paper presentations and the presentation of the maiden edition of the GreenHouse Art Journal by Professor Onobrakpeya. From being one of the fresh voices promoting artistic collectives and their crafts through her insightful pieces, culture journalist Evelyn Osagie, who is also a performance poet, made her debut as she joined the league of individuals documenting Nigeria’s rich cultural and artistic heritage through photography. Inspired by two renowned female artists, Lauren Greenfield and Elisa Paloschi, Osagie brings her experiences covering the arts/culture sector to bear in her photography at the exhibition. In line with the exhibition’s theme, “Nigerian Visual Artists and Politics”, Osagie showcased a body of work, featuring nine pieces in coloured and monochrome in varying sizes. Her displays spotlight issues such as politics, tourism, culture/art, artistic and religious expressions, hope, peace and unity, among others. Her body of work explores the interaction between people, their art, their environment and their attendant power-play. The pieces, spanning eight years of her career as a journalist, feature images showcasing places like Idanre and Osogbo; artists/poets like Prof Wole Soyinka, Odia Ofiemun, Chief Muraina Oyelami of Iragbiji, the late Suzanne Wenger; religion; children, and 2011 and 2015 elections. Osagie who disclosed that her choice of subject stems from the desire to share in the stories that unfold around her, also noted that she sees photograph as an artistic self-expression of reality; thus, she uses her camera to unearth and explore the world around her. “I have always imagined photograph as unspoken memory garnished with experience. Whether it is a walk down a hill with a friend, the serene town resting in between mountains or the embrace of two iconic poets, each image is a memory of diverse tales in man’s existence. Capturing these unspoken scenes in a flash is what excites me as a journalist and artist. The most exciting of all, which I consider beautiful, is that each of those moment s are kept alive in photographs.” She said. Born in Lagos, Osagie’s foray into photography dated back to her undergraduate days at the University of Benin, where she engaged in poetry performances, creative writing and other artistic endeavours. As a student, this graduate of English and Literature became interested in landscape and wildlife, while visiting relations, and other universities, canvassing for a joint-undergraduate writers’ association. Osagie, an award winning journalist is currently a Senior Correspondent with The Nation Newspaper in Lagos. Her reportorial engagements have also touched a plethora of issues bordering on cultural advocacy; women and child rights; civil rights; mental health; and a host of others. On the advocacy front, she has been deeply engaged in campaigns, seminars, workshops and other commitments aimed at fostering better policies in rights protection for many Non-Governmental (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations.(CSOs).

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