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Thursday, July 18, 2024

From abroad, fresh strokes of Agoruah’s ‘Finding Forever’ texturise Lagos art

The Cool (acrylic on canvas, 40 x 48 inches, dated 2019), by Ugo Agoruah. Pic: c/o Toyin Bello

AS the resilient Lagos culture landscape keeps flaunting its art hub status in Africa, fresh strokes of U.S-based Ugo Agoruah has brought new textures. With his style of painting in simplified form, Agoruah, on Friday, June 18, 2021, took art lovers in Lagos through his debut solo show titled FindingForever at Nimbus Gallery, Ikoyi Lagos.Island.

 Scheduled to show for the next one week, Agoruah’s Finding Forever is of modest 21 wall pieces in paintings and drawings. As guests trickle into the Nimbus Gallery space this Friday  afternoon of slightly hot weather, the spirit of courage and patriotism oozes out of the artist’s canvases. The courage that energises the artist’s homecoming, even at a time Nigeria is going through one of its biggest challenges in nationhood, is also woven around Agoruah’s themes. In pieces such as Mother’s Blessing and Son Of The Soil, among others, Agoruah celebrates his roots.   

Supported by Bogobiri, Finding Forever is  sponsored in part by Suga Cane Syrup. In its statement Bogobiri recalled how the artist “refocused his attention to further advancing his own artistic practice, fellowshipping with the likes of The Markeidric Group and Suga Cane Syrup, as well as participating in over 40 group exhibitions and showcases within the next 5 years.”

The statement explained that images in Finding Forever show the artist’s range in oil paintings, charcoal drawings, live muse-based paintings, and sketch journal entries from his journeys. The works touch on the subjects including identity, love, sexuality, truth, and appreciation for life. “Forever is a place that resides within our consciousness. A dark garden within our minds and hearts that are a fragment of Source, yet infinitely whole within itself. It is in this dark garden that we plant seeds deep within its soil, seeds that will come to bare fruit of its own kind.”

When Agoruah chose to  come home with his art, he found “tutelage of Ghariokwu LemI,” and also  “teamed up with curator Toyin Bello and produced, Finding Forever, his formal entrance into Nigeria’s art community.”

Trained in Georgia, U.S, Agoruah said the future is “the legacy of forever.” He noted that it “begins now,” starting with “a journey of discovering the nature of spirit, relearning the essence of self beyond the physical realm.”

Bello, who also worked with Lemi for 10 years made her debut with Finding Forever. The curator said Agoruah’s forms in paintings use “strong sense of family, romance and self awareness in order to evolve emotion” such as  “discovery in his audience.”

Some of the works on display included those that Agoruah said depict “the true essence of self becomes realized in a person who knows he is one with the universe, a vessel housing infinite expansion.”  On display during the opening were The Cool, (acrylic on canvas, dated 2019); and Universal Guidance (oil on canvas, dated 2021), a piece which the artist sakd is all about believing in self-created “universe and its connectedness to all.” He emphasised: “Be open. Be guided.”

Excerpts from the sponsor: Bogobiri House is much more than a boutique hotel in highbrow Ikoyi, Lagos. Bogobiri is the ancient birthplace of Uthman dan Fodio where scholarly and artistic knowledge is said to have spread like wild fire through Northern Nigeria. It is also the name of a popular district in Calabar where people from all over Africa converge and where the saying “there are no strangers in Bogobiri” was born. All in all the playful onomatopoeic feel of BOGOBIRI resonates greatly with the character and mood of this eclectic hub set in the heart of Lagos. Bogobiri brings home the true meaning of Afroliciousness!

Formerly located on a glorious plot of land opposite Bogobiri House, the Nimbus Art Centre grew to become the central focus for art and creativity in Lagos. Its modern art gallery, outdoor restaurant and live music stage attracted talented artist and musicians from all over the world. The unending list of famous visitors to the Nimbus include; Tony Allen, Jeremy Vine, Richard Quest, Damon Albarn, Asa, Dbanj, Tola Wewe, Ben Osawe and many other leading artists and musicians in Nigeria features.


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