“A View From The Masters”, a travelling art exhibition in honour of the legendary Queen Moremi Ajasoro, opened on Sunday at Alexis Galleries, Victoria Island, Lagos. It marked the first time visual artist have been engaged to offer their perspectives on the legendary Queen.
The exhibition features 28 masterpieces on the life and times of Queen Moremi Ajasoro by leading Nigerian artists such as Bruce Onabrakpeya, Kolade Oshinowo, Bunmi Babatunde, Abiodun Olaku, Duke Asidere, Gbenga Offo, Reuben Ugbine, Sam Ovraiti, Chinwe Uwatse, Tola Wewe, Dominique Zinkpe, Abraham Uyovbisere, Fidelis Odogwu, Sam Ebohon, Tony Nsofor, Edosa Ogiugo, Alex Nwokolo, Mavua Lessor, Segun Aiyesan, Ato Arinze, Zinno Orara, DiseyeTantua, Joshua Nmesirionye, Gerry Nnumbia, John Oyedemi, Joe Essien, Gab Awusa and Gerald Chukwuma.
The show, organised by Alexis Galleries in partnership with the House of Oduduwa, will run till Friday June 14. It will later move to London, New York, Dubai and Lebanon, respectively.
Explaining the idea behind the touring exhibition, the Global Ambassador, Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative, Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, said the show is to keep the legacy of the legendary queen alive. “The story of Queen Mọ́remí Àjàsorò is basically about the leadership she exhibited 1,700 years ago, when she saved her community from oppression, taking children and women away from oppressors at the risk of her life. So, she was a sacrificial leader who gave everything up for the love of her people.
“The show is to keep the legacies of Moremi embedded in our memories,” she said.
According to her, the traveling Moremi Art exhibition is one of the first of many exhibitions they are going to be having.
On why visual art is part of the attraction for showcasing the legacies of Queen Moremi, she said: “Art is a universal language. In telling the queen’s story, there is a need to see her through the eyes of the artists.”
Founder and curator of Alexis Galleries, Patty Chidiac-Mastrogiannis, said the exhibition features 28 artworks across the different medium by 28 artists, comprising 27 male and one female, portraying Queen Moremí Àjàsorò the way they see her individually.
“In the visual art scene, there is a dearth of full-time studio artists with long years of experience. But the focus for the gallery is to place Moremi delicately in the hands of masters.
“We are making history with artists whose names are already part of history,’’ she added.
Commenting on the number of female artists involved in this show, Ovraiti said: “As visual artists, we think based on our imagination and the fact that we see things differently.”
He added that his work on display for the exhibition looks at Moremi from the concept of a woman in contemporary times, noting that women have now been able to set themselves free from the narrow confines of being behind men, to taking responsibility of building a society that is desirable.
Also speaking on the show, Nnubia explained that his presentation at the exhibition is entitled “Victory by Fire”. “The import of the work is that Queen Moremi Ajasoro went through fire. She experienced so much fire and anxiety about the society she lived in; her people were been taken away, their children enslaved. She had only a son coupled with nightmares about losing him to the enemy…at the end of the day, she was able to get the secret that those enemies could only be destroyed by fire. It was a victory for the entire society,” Nubia said.
For Arinze, the exhibition is an opportunity to tell the true story of Moremi, adding that he has heard several versions of the Moremi story. According to him, his work for the exhibition looks at Queen Moremi as a mother, a protective caregiver to the society.
The Moremi art exhibition, View from the Masters, is sponsored by Pepsi, Amstel Malt, The Guardian, ITB Construction, Wazobia TV, Cool FM, La Cave, Mikano, Cobranet Internet Service Provider, Delta Airline, The Homestores and Art Café.
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