• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Oluwole Omofemi: Evocative painter with sought-after works

png_20240630_145351_0000

While Nigerian parades many gifted artists, Oluwole Omofemi stands out with his unique technique and bold paintings.

Omofemi, a contemporary visual artist, is better known for his colourful and evocative paintings, which explore African heritage, fashion and culture.

Born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria, he rose to fame in the United Kingdom for producing the last commissioned painting of Queen Elizabeth II before her death for Tatler’s Platinum Jubilee cover.

Read also: Wole Soyinka on spotlight at Africa Centre, London for his 90th birthday

Since then, his career skyrocketed and he is passionate about using his platform to uplift emerging African artists.

Trailing his journey in the arts, he recalls his growing up days in Ibadan, where he also draws his artistic inspiration from.

According to him, the serenity and free flowing way of life in the city sustained his inspiration to paint.

Of course, he is not apologetic for his works being viewed as Afrocentric.

He has a unique signature that allows him to incorporate African cultural heritage in his works, from the Afro hairstyle to baldness and to tribal markings, especially in his contemporary figurative and portrait paintings.

He does this as an intrinsic way of capturing femininity and the African identity and African heritage while running natural commentary on both its history and contemporary times.

Moreover, Omofemi stands out among his peers because of his unique technique, which allows him to paint and also capture the essence of his subject.

The technique makes his paintings to exude an aura that is human like.

He does contemporary art and abstract art as well.

In his painting of the Queen of England, he painted her with black hair to capture both youth – as opposed to grey hair – as well as integrate his signature style into the painting. He also uses the pop art palette for his signature color range and mix, forming a major part of his color theory.

However, after years of gaining international recognition for his paintings that generously highlight African identity, fashion and culture, and now established, Omofemi is focusing on mentoring the younger generation of artists.

As a visionary artist, the painter now uses his art as a tool for social change and empowerment. The above was top among the reasons and inspiration for the establishment of PieceUnique with Bayo Akande, the co-founder.

PieceUnique is a new agency dedicated to African art and artists empowerment.

The misson, according to him, is to uplift and amplify the voices of African artists.

With the new agency, Omofemi and his co-founder aim to offer tailored mentorships and training programmes to artists. They also hope to host curated exhibitions, both locally and internationally.

But the ultimate aim of Omofemi and Akande is to disrupt the traditional gallery model, enabling artists to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities and working with them to build a strong brand with artistic activations and collaborations that cut across art, fashion and lifestyle.

With the new art agency on board, Omofemi and his partner are set to uncover and spotlight talent from Africa and most importantly, bringing them to new audiences across the world, and by so doing, fostering connections and cultural exchanges in and out of the continent.

It new agency is also heavy on artist empowerment by offering an all-encompassing consultancy that provides the tools needed for African artists to reach their full potential, while preserving their artistic integrity.

Omofemi has participated in many solo and group exhibitions in his successful career.

The most recent is ‘Contact Zone’, an inaugural exhibition at Cromwell Place, London, which launched PieceUnique, his new art agency, into the global art scene.

The just-concluded exhibition featured works from three artists, including Omofemi, amid display of sheer creativity by the thrisome in the joint show.

Talking about his works, he explains that they are engaging and reflect African heritage.

For instance, in Beauty, a painting, which is part of a series that poignantly explores the inherent grace and resilience embodied by African women, Omofemi elaborates on the work, saying: “I delved into the duality of beauty and pain, intertwining the profound struggles and triumphs experienced by African women.

“By portraying the natural beauty of African women, the artwork serves as a powerful ode to strength, dignity, and the enduring allure of the human spirit.”

Omofemi has also participated in many art residencies, where he further honed his talent.

He is currently hosting a residency at his studio in Ibadan, South West, Nigeria, for young artists.

His works, which are highly sought-after are found in many private and corporate collections, museums and galleries across the world.