Tunde Odunlade is a notable printmaker and batik artist based in Ibadan, Nigeria. A widely exhibited artist, he has traveled extensively within Nigeria and in Africa, North America, and Europe.
Odunlade who is also an actor and has performed with various theatre productions, recently launched an art gallery named Tunde Odunlade Arts & Culture Connexions, a Pan Artists Market (PAM), located at Ladoke Akintola Avenue, New Bodija, Ibadan Oyo State. It was a feast of creativity and intellectual discourse at the grand opening of Gallery, which had in attendance, Ambassador Yemi Farounmbi, Professor Femi and Professor (Mrs) Osofisan, Professor (Mrs) J.Ade Ajayi and others. Highlights of the colourful event include art exhibition and Artists’ Talk.
There goodwill messages from Wole Soyinka, Omooba Yemisi Shyllon, Femi Odugbemi among others. In an interview, Odunlade talked about his art, the journey so far, his recent exhibition and other issues, According to him, Art chose him. “I was born into a royal family of Ile Ife in Osun State. On the eighth day, at the ceremony of naming me, the Oriki that I was given clearly implied that a new promising and famous artist has been born. I will be happy to do a rendition of my Oriki and dissect it, upon request.
It’s quite long. It was like my biography was written on that fateful day. Everything I practice today is already embedded in the Oriki. In other words the Oriki happen to be the vanguard of my creative endeavor and my artistic imperative, unconsciously.”
He added that his carrier began in 1973 when he met Prince Yinka Adeyemi in Ile Ife, a member of the Oshogbo school of Art and of course Ori Olokun of the then University of Ile Ife. and he later attended Oguntimehin Arts Workshop under the auspices of the same University before venturing into further tertiary education in art and other related courses. “But my earlier explanation of my early birth is worth a thought.
For instance, when I was completing my primary school, I was the craftwork prefect. Growing up as a young boy, I’ve always shown trait of being an artist in the future and my friends always acknowledge it.
Though, Pablo Picasso says “every child is born an artist, the one who practices becomes the artist”. Mine was predicted, from the beginning. So I didn’t catch it unaware.” Asked if he thinks Nigerians appreciate arts enough, he explained that the life of virtually all Nigerians is arty by nature.
“We are naturally endowed. While I say, giving education on Art appreciation from the rudimentary level and a little art appreciation classes to adults can ignite a fortune, having pushed religious sentiments aside.
Some Nigerians do collect art, especially the ones with disposable income and are well informed on the import of art as an integral part of humanity. Also, Art in some quarters in Nigeria are not only seen from aesthetic viewpoint but also as investment and documentation of our core historic values. The likes of Omooba Shyllon, Aig Imokhuede and a host of others have demonstrated that beyond reasonable doubts.”
The new gallery, Tunde Odunlade Arts and Culture Connexions (Pan Artists’Market), he explained, will boost tourism industry not only for Ibadan where it’s situated but for Nigeria as a country. “It will form part of the economic growth of the country and will serve as image launder for the country as a people’s civility is seen chiefly through their arts and humanity trajectory, and globally, especially nowadays of social media interactions.”