In 2011, I was approached by the artist Oyerinde Olotu, to write a few words that would feature in the brochure of his exhibition Cities, People & Countryside. The exhibition took place in the October of that year. It was perhaps, the last major exhibition that the artist would organise himself.
Oyerinde Olotu was born in Ondo State (Nigeria) in 1959. He is a graduate of Yaba College of Technology ("Yaba 'Tech") - an institution that is renowned for its very impressive creative alumni. Olotu graduated from Yaba 'Tech in 1981. He was also the overall best graduating student of the Fine Arts Department in that year. Prior to focusing on a career as a visual artist, Olotu worked as an art teacher and he also worked in advertising. He lives with his family in Lagos.
The works featured in Cities, People & Countryside paid tribute to some iconic locations in Nigeria, such as the popular Idanre Hills in Ondo State and Isale Eko in central Lagos.
|Idanre I, 2010 oil on canvas*|
Cities, People & Countryside
This collection features exceptional, dramatic, and in true "Olotu Style", nostalgic images.
For me, the words in the exhibition title have been wisely placed...cities: people; and countryside.
Like a fine gossamer thread woven through each work, the word 'People' forms an intricate connection, uniting the contrasting landscapes of cities and countrysides. People give character to cities; and people breathe human activity into the countryside - lending sight and sound to the imagery.
And so, I warmly congratulate Olotu on producing yet another invaluable collection of works. Above all, I thank him - as he continues to take us down memory lane - by serving an invitation to explore further the splendour that once existed, and in a sense, still exists, in Nigeria today...
Feyi Raimi-AbrahamSeptember 2011**
|Abandoned one-lane colonial bridge, Sobe, Edo State 2009, oil on canvas*|
*All images are the property of the artist
**from the brochure of Cities, People & Countryside - Travels with an artist's eye, Oyerinde Olotu