• Sunday, December 10, 2023
businessday logo


Once Upon A Time: A tale of photography by foursome artists


If you are an avid art lover, an art collector or someone looking for new excitement, then there is a date for you at Yacht Hotel, Admiralty Road, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

From October 29, 2022, four budding Nigerian visual artists are waiting to excite viewers at the boutique hotel with a variety of works that focus on photography.

The foursome: Godstime Uche Godfrey, Oluwayemisi Onadipe, Adegbola Adetayo and Francisca Willy are engaging in a creative rivalry at a group exhibition titled ‘Once upon a time’.

The exhibition, which started with a press preview on October 20, 2022 is curated by Udemma Chukwuma and presented by Lucid Grand from October 29 to November 6, 2022 at the exclusive Lekki hotel.

Apart from the works on display, there will be an artist talk on November 5, 2022.

Speaking on the exhibition, Chukwuma, the curator, noted that while the expression, Once Upon A Time is commonplace, “In this photography exhibition, the expression depicts what the participating photo artists have captured over a period of time in their lives which have become shards of memories that once were upon a time.”

According to her, the exhibition displays works created using the latest techniques in photography, amid presenting to the audience new perspectives in photography and juxtaposes these with classic or traditional photography.

“It is a curatorial excursion into the history and development of photography as an art form.

“These works on display negotiate their presences into the viewer’s experiential space through shared appeals and other evocative elements of deja vu,” she said.

One of the many reasons to see the exhibition, according to her, is because the foursome artists were selected for their innovative uses of creative techniques and technology to communicate and document. Again, they focus primarily on visual identity, fashion, landscape, portraiture, abstraction and still photography. As well, their works present examples of how change is constant and inevitable, reminding us that nothing remains forever as change happens in the present, not the past or future. The images exhibited have earned their spots on the wall by dint of pure art and exceptional skills.

Picking on the artists individually, Godstime Uche Godfrey, a conceptual photographer, recreates nature indoors and illustrates his idea with symbolism and human figures, especially women.

He avers that “people appreciate works with female subjects more than male subjects, except in a situation where a male subject will pass the message better.” His works represent photography’s equivalence of eclecticism. His play with different elements gives his works the latitude to project and explore myriad themes and tropes. Among his pieces are subjects on human rights violations, addiction, gender inequality, socio-political and socio-economic issues. In addition to these are also abstract and philosophical themes.

On the other hand, Oluwayemisi Onadipo, a documentary photographer, is passionate about documenting the daily activities of people in Lagos. She captures the struggles of the common man. In her Rainy Day series, you could see, through lucid lenses, images of people, who pursue their daily activities in the rain. She establishes clear visual narration by deploying an artistic skill that enables her to deemphasize certain elements while highlighting others. The technique controls the viewer’s focus and shapes his perspective. She takes the viewer beyond the usual two-dimensionality of the picture frames by tunneling into deeper and subtle layers of meanings and visual idioms. Her penchant for parading visually graded details is unique and imbues the viewer with a desire to take second and third looks at her exhibits. Many of her works are debuting with Once Upon a Time and are thus being shown to the public for the first time.

Adegbola Adetayo’s works are timeless and elegant, one may mistake him for a fashion photographer. He is versatile: a documentary, conceptual and fine art photographer. One of his most notable works is a piece titled Bloom. It is both a curious and visceral image depicting a young man whose head is separated from his body, amid a side view portrait of a young man spotting well-delineated tribal marks captured tradition and heritage while his presentation of this image in black and white situated it in a past time.

He is inspired by people and the environment. As a teenager with a zeal for art, he saw photography as an avenue of expressing himself. He is currently exploring the use of photography and other digital mediums to document and tell stories which are based on his visual experiences. His exploration further underscores the importance of culture, storytelling, the curating beauty and nature.

Meanwhile, Francisca Willy, a documentary photographer, explores every subject, living and non living. In Once Upon a Time, she presents her Naija Delta series, which captures the rhythms of time and place-making amongst riverine communities. Her extensive documentation of this place speaks of splendor and the myriad shades of meanings, environmental moods, weather and climates. Her subjects are handled with a sense of composition albeit conceptually articulated from pre-existing elements and scenes thus transposing originality to widely available scenes and themes. She tells her stories in black and white, attenuating meanings and discourses with seemingly inexhaustible shades of grey.

From its sojourn over two centuries, through private albums, postcards, billboards, books and magazines, photography has marked its evolutionary mileage through the interplay between the creative skills of photographers and the brokerage of possibilities by technology. Therefore, the debate concerning whether or not photography is an art form has thus been put to rest by the creative exploits of exceptional photo artists all over the world. The gallant entry of exquisite photographic pieces into exhibition halls, of which Once Upon A Time is yet another ritual of affirmation, settles this debate yet again.

The four artists await your visit to savour and also appreciate their creative ingenuity across their works generously on display at the exhibition.

Once again, the exhibition runs from October 29 to November6, 2022 at the exclusive Yacht Hotel, Admiralty Road, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

It is being supported by Yacht Hotel, Jaya and Sailors Lounge.