About Exhibition

2 May 2022 - 22 May 2022

When we decide to trace the history of a dog, we cannot but tell the tale of the cooking pot that made the meat tasty, likewise no chef can cook the fireweed vegetables enough to rid it of its scent. These above statements set the tune for the exhibition you are viewing now. It is the reason as you would find out soon that this exhibition is being held in the first place and subsequently carrying the messages with which it has been laden. The number two is significant in a number of senses, I mean “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” the answer to this biblical rhetorical question needs no guessing to answer.

Historically, the artists on display have a long history together. They are graduates of the philosophically aligned Ife Art School, having been properly initiated into the depth of ideology springing forth wisdom from “The Source ” as Ife is popularly designated. This is the reason for the dynamism in the approach to the arts that you will find in their works, from materials to medium and execution. They have engaged arts beyond aesthetics while retaining the lure of aesthetics, they have engaged the subject of art as a tool to inspire social debates and address human issues. While some may call them social commentators, these artists are beyond commentary; they are in a manner of speaking society’s conscience, drilling deep into the annals of human interactions like engineers to create works that address the hidden issues of man’s day to day life, drawing from history and a keen observation of their immediate and lager environment. If art was a coin produced in Ile-Ife, Toro and Badru have by the reason of this exhibition qualified to be the two sides of that coin amongst the numerous prodigious artists the school has produced. While Badru is a textile graduate of the Ife Art School, Toro is a painting graduate and both of them are by the evidence before you, distinctions in their rights.

Two sides of a coin is the parable that exposes the ideals of this exhibition titled Me & Him. It is the interrogation of the decision of two artists and their diversity of expressions using arts as a vehicle. From the theme one may infer that there is a side “Me” and side “Him” of the exhibition coin and that side is not a constant because if you view from Badru’s side Toro becomes side him and vice versa. While it may be the intention of the artists to leave the audience to fix the puzzle on who is Me and Him amongst them, it is more revealing for this writing that the exhibition title is a puzzle with two sides seeking answers, as earlier mentioned the number two is important in this exhibition -Two artists, Two Unique expressions and two streams of messages, but the coin remains the same.

Badru’s Side of the Coin
If you are familiar with Badru and his sojourn as an artist, one thing you cannot deny is the obvious and continuous evolution of his style. In a way of description, Badru is an “Alara” and Ara ii tan nile alara which could be translated as “there’s no end to the wonders in the mind of a creator” but in a more grammatically acceptable sense “wonders never end”. Badru is a potpourri of restless experimentation always trying his hands on new things especially in the combination of materials and mediums to express his ideas.

However, one constant in his evolution has been the deployment of African inspired motifs as a unit of inspiration for his many expressions. The bond between Badru and the use of these African motifs is inseparable as he has evolved the use of these traditional motifs, finding meaning for them in contemporary themes, when you thought to have seen the most of Badru, his styles and bond with African motif (chiefly Adire), he brings up a new one and you wonder How come?

Toro’s Side of the Coin
Toro is a draughtsman and this is perhaps his most valuable asset after his artistic mind. I dare to say, anything Toro cannot express in drawing cannot be expressed. He painstakingly interprets ideas using lines and shapes. He combines this with an understanding of the interplay of light on objects and you cannot but notice this seeming obsession in his works laying one brush stroke against another.
These two attributes have continually dotted the face of his alluring oeuvre.

As a young graduate in his early days out of school, Toro in a frantic search to distinguish his realistic approach to painting found the exploration of combining acrylic and charcoal fascinating and he would spend the next decade expressing his themes using this new found medium. Known for striking portraits with facial expressions capable of sparking conversations within his viewers, his brush wears an unseen cassock that qualifies him to be a preacher, creating works that generate conversations that call society back to the place of introspection. In this exhibition, he has presented works that leave one with questions unending.

Badru Temitayo

Temitayo Badru is a multimedia artist whose oeuvre ranges from work done in Textiles (using acrylic threads to create hand embroidery), sculpture, and installation. Badru earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (both in Textile) from Obafemi Awolowo University, ile ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

A signature element of his works is his use of imagery and symbols from African wall murals and fabrics, most especially Adire Eleko fabrics, in crea ting works that have gone on to adorns private homes and institutions both in Nigeria and abroad.

His work are primarily focused on the exploration of and critical engagement with language, myth, folklore, proverb, spirituality, and daily life in the Nigerian and importantly the Yoruba context.

Influenced by his roots in Abeokuta, a city known for traditional dyeing techniques, his work, aims to amplify the etymological and semantic meaning of the traditional Adire Eleko patterns through interpreting their visual semiotics and using symbolic abstract images motivated by myths folklores, proverbs and deep observations of naturality and spirituality.

He is particularly interested in the way people interact and react to these traditional iconographies and their relevance to contemporary society.

His works also focuses on depicting the female form and the ways they are depicted in contemporary society, which draws from his close relationship with his mother and the ways in which the image of the woman is revered traditional Yoruba societies.

Badru has participated in several successful joint exhibitions, art fairs, and solo exhibitions. He’s a recipient of of many awards and was part of “LIMCAF 2017 top 4 artists” sponsored to 13th Dark’art Biennial in Senegal by professor El Anatsui.

Tosin Toromade

Tosin Tòròmade was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and began drawing at a young age, delighting anyone who came into contact with his creative talents. His love in art led him to seek a degree in Fine and Applied Arts. He received his bachelor’s degree with honors from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

He is a seasoned professional artist, a multidimensional art guru, and a teacher who has chosen to express himself using new media such as photography, digital art, and most recently filmmaking, rather than traditional painting and drawing approaches.

He joined the Tender Arts Foundation as an Arts in Medicine fellow in 2019. His art therapy expertise and experience have also aided him in contributing to the therapeutic wellbeing of patients in a number of Nigerian public and private institutions.

He has carved a space for himself as a portrait and figurative artist with numerous successful group art exhibits and a solo exhibition. Through a blend of symbolism, texture, and iconography, he aims to represent the shape, mind, mood, and expression of humanity, as well as the problems that come with existence and survival in Africa.

He is now researching visual art as a means of inspiration for everyone.

Tòrò, as he is affectionately known, is continuously seeking for new ways to capture events and make art through constant investigation of alternative creative materials such as charcoal and coffee.

Passionate art enthusiasts, collectors, and galleries have taken up residence in his works.

Tosin Toromade is based in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, where he also works on his art.