Water colourists stage comeback at Adam & Eve’s Spring Exhibition

A water colour painting by Kehinde Sanwo

Seven water colour masters who haven’t shown works made with the medium in a long while will be exhibiting at the forthcoming The Content: Spring Edition show in Lagos


APART from being renowned painters, Tayo Adenaike, Sam Ovraiti, Lekan Onabanjo, OluAjayi, Kehinde Sanwo, Victor Obasuyi and Ini Brown share another characteristic: they are all water colourists. Though they would rather not be so classified now, they used the medium to produce attractive works at various points in their careers.

Having progressed well to attain various degrees of fame, the septet will be converging on the luxury store, Adam & Eve, Ikeja GRA, Lagos in April for the latest installment of ‘The Content’ art exhibition.

Tagged ‘The Content: Spring Edition’, the show will run from April 1 to 30, with Onabanjo as the curator. It will also bring together, for the first time on the mainland, veteran painters who began their careers as watercolourists.

Speaking at a news briefing ahead of the exhibition, Onabanjo revealed that apart from showcasing their works, the exhibition is also intended to make collectors of water colours appreciate the true beauty of the medium.

He noted that it was ironical that while a number of artists resided on the mainland, exhibitions rarely happened there with most taking place on Lagos Island, Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki. He commended the commitment of the Mrs. Modupe Ogunlesi owned Adam & Eve, which though yet to launch its art gallery, initiated The Content series last year as a build-up to the take-off.

On the extra care required to use the medium, Ovraiti explained that water colour was one of the finest art media but most of its materials are imported and quite expensive. The artist further revealed that most of his early water colour paintings had been bought by international visitors on their way out of the country. Ovraiti added that most Nigerian collectors were more concerned about the size of the work than the actual effort and cost of production of the art pieces.

For Sanwo, there is no room for improvisation in watercolour painting if the aim is to achieve good quality painting.

Aside the challenges identified by the artists, another issue with water colour paintings are poor sales. Most Nigerian collectors prefer large pieces of art, whereas water colour paintings are usually miniatures.  When the difficulty in controlling water colour while painting is factored in, it becomes clear why the medium has become one of the least preferred by painters.

Besides, water colour painting usually takes more hours to complete for every artist because it requires that the painter allow each layer of paint to dry before applying another. Its challenges notwithstanding, collectors should be ready for a different taste of water colour at ‘The Content: Spring Edition’.

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