Adenuga: Giving mix media art a face in Nigerian society

Adetola Adenuga in his studio

Mix media art is a new dimension to the art of painting, sculpture that involves use of materials which mostly are seen as waste or non useful to construct beautiful art pieces. This creative new trend is the focal point of the works of Adetola Adenuga. The photography graduate of the Yaba College of Technology and self-taught artist, in this interview, reveals how he is set to give mix media art a face in the Nigerian society. 


USING different materials mostly considered to be waste to create art piece takes huge creative sense and diligence. According, Adetola Adenuga some of his works take duration of over two to three years. Although he is a graduate of photography, he embraced mix media using metal, wood, paper, foil, fabrics and all sorts of materials to create art due to his passion.

This passion for art has been aglow since childhood. “I have always loved paying attention to details and creating things out of nothing. I can remember clearly from the tender age of eight when I pick up things by road side and add them to my collection which I use in decorating. My father was an artist, so I probably followed my dad’s step. I enjoy using materials like fabric, metal, wood and other materials to express myself through Art.

“I currently express myself in various techniques of two and three dimensional art, such as mixed media, painting, photography, serigraphy (screen printing), stained glass art, art installation, and other aspects of print making and functional art.’’


Most Memorable Moments:

His most memorable moment goes down to several years back when he created a sculptural piece he named Deep Thought. He said, “It was a sculptural wood construction that attracted huge attention from reknowed artistes including professors of art, who marveled at the innovation behind the sculptural piece which was done by someone who never studied Fine Art at teritairy institution.’’

When asked how much he sold the sculptural piece, Adenuga said he is yet to sell it, as he cherishes it like a child. “I may not sell it because I really cherish it and that is the reason behind the name Deep Thought. It’s really deep.

Role Models:

Adenuga, who is married with two kids, idolises El Anatsui, a Ghanaian mix media artist. “I admire him so much because he is dynamic and works with cans, mats, wood and other materials which you many people regard as useless. He creates beautiful pieces from them. Other mix media artists that I admire include Olaniyi Taiwo, Peju Alatise, and Dr Kunle Adeyemi.’’


Challenges of Nigerian Artists:

The challenges of Nigerian artists, according to Adenuga, are as numerous as the challenges of an average Nigerian. He lamented the manner in which gallery owners look down on promising artists and focus more on reknowed artists not taking cognizance of the fact that the known artists were once unknown at a point of their lives.

In his advice on how art can be celebrated more in the Nigerian society, he said the government has a role to play. “More arts festivals should be organised to enable artists exhibit Nigerian culture in ways the world has never seen before. The Lagos State government did something like that last December with the Itesiwaju Eko Festival, so more states should emulate this. It will  enable artists showcase Nigerian culture through various dynamic art works.’’