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The Elevation: A new height for olfactory art at Abela Centre

The Elevation: A new height for olfactory art at Abela Centre

If you are a lifestyle lover, art enthusiast, rare perfume collector or user, there is a place you need to visit to truly nurture your cravings for wonderful things in life.

Yes, the doors are wide open for you at Abela Centre for Olfactory Art. Located on #385 Herbert Macaulay Way Yaba, Lagos, a visit will expose you to a world of unimaginable art offerings, rare fragrances, the art of perfumery, indulging scents, amid warmth by the artists.

The olfactory centre, which is the first-of-its-kind in Sub-Saharan Africa, creates its scents and ingeniously uses the scents, perfumes and other applications of scent as a medium of its art offering.

Of course, credit goes to Deola Abela Paul-Inyang, founder of the center and her team of scent experts who create wonders with the sense of smell.

In furthering its wonderful offerings the Deola-led olfactory centre to the already enthralling experience at the centre a notch higher this Easter with a carefully curated exhibition, aptly tagged, The Elevation, an olfactory sensory experience.

A true Easter exhibit, the show, which kicked off on April 16, 2022 at the centre in Yaba, was in line with the Easter season and inspired by the fragrant heavens, with two olfactory experience points; the exploration of the historical relevance of 25 aromatics of origin and the artistic adaptation of the aromatics in conceptual scent creations.

Speaking at the open house; on the first day of the exhibition, Deola said, “The Elevation exhibition is an olfactory sensory experience, we are opening up the house to have more people to understand scents from different dimensions than just its use as body perfume, there is an art to it.”

The intrigue is that the scents are also Deola’s interpretation and perspective of the thematic concepts centered on the core belief of Christendom as it relates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

While inside the centre, Deola and her team of perfume experts are on hand to take on the journey that will see you walking in the aromatic Biblical footprints.

The first point of call in the exhibition is the aromatic oils and for the first time, visitors were able to see, smell and even touch some of these oils mentioned in the bible. Sniffing Frankincense, Myrrh, Spikenard, Hyssop, Bdellium, Terenbith, among other fragrant oils was the height of the experience for a middle-aged woman, who visited after an evening meeting at St. Dominic Catholic Church on same Herbert Macaulay Street in Yaba.

On seeing an oil called ‘Onycha’, she thought it was Onitsha, a city in Anambra State. But the oil is Benzoin, an extracted aromatic oil (resin), while Onycha is derived from Hebrew and Arabic words, Deola explained.

“It is real, the aroma feels heavenly. I guess it will be expensive”, said the woman to her partner, who also perceived the heavenly fragrance oozing out of an open glass jar.

Deola was impressed with the kind comments, but noted that the scents are value for money, considering all that goes into their creation.

From the aromatic oils, the next point was an installation where visitors sniffed different scents from the well-packages and labeled bottles.

From Crown of Thorns, Passion & The Cross, King of Thorns, The Awakening and to Rebirth, Deola practically curated an installation depicting the various experiences of Jesus Christ at death and his resurrection.

If you had witnessed the Station of the Cross observed by mainly Catholics, you will feel the different stages of suffering, the pain and joy that came with the resurrection.

However, the meticulous stage by stage sniffing by the visitors, curated and guided by Deola and her crew, was the game for the visitors at the exhibition.

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Before the sniffing Deola pleaded with the visitors to open their mind to allow their sense of smell to be at its best and to be able to connect with the experiences the different scents are relating with their individual smell.

“This is the Crown of Thorns, who does it smell and feel”? Deola asked her visitors.

“It smells like blood, I feel the pain”, a visitor said.

But they all were delighted with the refreshing smell of the Rebirth, and one visitor noted he smelt such fragrance in rooms in big hotels.

From that sniffing point, the journey continues to other parts of the exhibition.

Beyond the experiences, the Abela brand offers a rich olfactory library, studio and showroom where scents, perfume candles, aromatherapy candles, potpourri incense oil, luxury home perfume diffuser refill, perfume sachets, perfume room sprays among other Nigerian made products are on display.

Explaining further the essence of olfactory art, she said, “Olfactory art is taking different inspiration points and expressing them through olfactive measures for creations and expression as well.

“As artists, we tell stories, the Abela brand generally tells stories and I as a creator tell stories; stories of our African essence, stories of our human experiences, and interactions in the form of scents and taking personalities and adapting them in olfactive form.

“As you have gone through today and I have taken you through the conceptual sense today, you have seen how each of these scents means something different and they connect differently to you. That is what olfactory art is all about.

“But we are changing the dynamics of this artistry in Africa. technically this is the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa, we saw the gap and we are opening up bigger channels how we adopt the use of scents through multisensory experiences in dance, in movies, the dimensions are so wide and this opening up the opportunities for that and allowing people to see how we can use scents as a communication art.”

The exhibition runs from April 16, to May 16, 2022 at the centre.