After 7 years of professional practice in diverse forms of art, for the first time, Adeyinka Akingbade presents a large body of his works in mixed media expressions. The solo exhibition titled The Summer Art Salon opened on Saturday July 18th, 2015 at Temple Muse in Victoria Island, Lagos.
In a balanced mix of aesthetically pleasing abstract and figurative art on paper and canvas, Akingbade presents different aspects of life, emotion and society through shared daily experiences, faith, godliness, relationships, personality traits, celebration, social behaviours, contemporary fashion statements, importance of family, and the reverential roles of parents in Africa. Looking at the works, it is hard to miss the vivacious and optimistic personality of the artist, his uncomplicated worldview and modest innovative techniques. He is aware life is tough but chooses to make his works a soft and optimistic landing for himself and others who encounter them.
Akingbade opts for a positive outlook to life in the colours of his works and deliberate use of discarded materials from his immediate environment. Life is limitless and so is the possibility given to each object in his works especially the rubber cut-outs used repeatedly in this exhibition. According to him, experimenting with rubber represents his flexibility as an artist and fulfils his recent need for materials that are tough and expandable. In the past, he experimented with used film reels from his photography shoots and other objects usually overlooked.
His flexibility is noticeable not just in the materials used but in the styles used to create the subjects approached. For instance, What do you think?, Success Story, Extrovert, The Making of the King I & II, The Shift are mixed media works in abstract and figurative forms. When these works are compared to some of the monoprint series like Experiment I –IV, True Friendship, and Phase II, Akingbade shows he can work in both forms of art and express himself without restriction. In a piece like Extrovert, his background in graphic design shows in the composition of the rubber and painting depicting the openness of people perceived as extrovert. Likewise the works The Black Man and Na Shakara (Show off) on contemporary fashion and attitude of young people.
In subtle ways, Akingbade advocates for positivity and change in the society through subjects associated with the family, the smallest and most important unit of the society. The messages are placed in symbolic forms that bring emotions and thoughtfulness to the viewer of the work. Family Bond for example, was inspired by the metaphorical stories his father told him and his siblings as a child. The connectedness of the colourful trees in the piece illustrates the bond needed amongst them to strive for excellence together as one. Thus, from a young age, the image of a tree and its strength became an important part of his creative journey and used to represent different subjects.
In a conversation with Adeyinka Akingbade on the exhibition, he says “the feedback has been impressive and I am motivated to go back to the studio, dig deeper into my thoughts and create more vibrant works that will change the society”. The Summer Art Salon is open to the public till September 4th, 2015.
See photos from the exhibition opening below.