Art feast as family’s three generations exhibit works in Lagos

Posted by News Express | 15 November 2012 | 8,357 times

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It is a feast of art in Nigeria’s economic hub, Lagos, as works of three generations of a pioneer family in the country’s art scene jointly exhibit their works for arts connoisseurs.

The historic Akinola Lasekan Memorial Symposium and Art exhibition started today at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, and will last three days.

Dignitaries gracing the event include art historian Professor Ola Oloidi of the University of Nigeria, print master Bruce Onabrakpeya and renowned art connoisseur Omo oba Yemisi Shyllon, chair of the event.

Akinola Lasekan (1932-1972) was one of the first artists to exhibit his works in Nigeria. He was the pioneer newspaper cartoonist in Nigeria, using his brushes in the defunct West African Pilot to contribute to the nationalist struggle for independence. As the cartoonist Akin Lash, he was renowned for his trenchant political commentary such as earned him a mention in the latest look at Nigerian history, Chinua Achebe’s There Was A Country.

The family of the late Lasekan is putting the exhibition and symposium together to celebrate the landmark of 40 years of Lasekan’s passage. According to family spokesperson Mrs. Olusola Dublin-Green, the events seek to celebrate his legacy “of patriotism, excellence and nurturing a new generation of artists. The 40th anniversary of his death provides a veritable opportunity to celebrate this legacy and heritage.”

Said Dr. Dublin-Green: “Akinola Lasekan’s  works include an oil painting called ‘The last political mission of Herbert Macaulay’, ‘The story of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’ in oil in canvas,  a pictorial and historical composition entitled ‘The return of Ajaka of Owo’ painted in poster colour on paper, and ‘Atilogwu dancers’, amongst others.

“Several of his artworks were donated to the Nigerian National Gallery of Arts and were exhibited during the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977. Other artworks also exist in Art galleries across the world.”

Three of Akinola Lasekan’s children are exhibiting their works while works by three grandchildren are also on display.

The children are David Laseka, creator of Benbella and Lulu characters and cartoon sketches in Daily Times and other publications; Kole Lasekan, a United States based animator and Akinyele Lasekan.

Grandchildren whose artistic works are being displayed include Akintunde Lasekan, Luke Lasekan and Jumoke Lasekan.

Akinola Lasekan was a renowned graphic artist, painter, textile designer, book illustrator, teacher, author and the first Nigerian media cartoonist. He established his career as Nigeria’s pioneer political cartoonist at the West African Pilot Newspaper – a paper established in 1937 by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.

While working with C.M.S Bookshop between 1936 and 1940, Akinola Lasekan took correspondence courses in fine art, art illustrating and cartooning. His first diploma was in fine art, obtained in 1937 from Normal College of Art, London. In 1939, he obtained his second diploma in advance drawing, illustrating, commercial art and cartooning from Washington School of A7rt, United States of America.

Between 1936 and 1940, he executed notable paintings that attracted great publicity in Lagos. These include:

The effigy of His Majesty King George VI for his coronation in 1937. This portrait, placed in the C.M.S Bookshop, attracted large crowd of viewers.

A Large portrait of Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of United Kingdom. The portrait was painted in 1940 in aid of the ‘Win-the-war’ effort organized by the ’Ritz Club’. Ritz Club auctioned the painting to raise money for the event.

The much talked about paintings of sceneries of Grand Operetta entitled ‘Phillida’ for The Breadfruit Church Concert in 1940.

In April 1940, Akinola Lasekan left the services of C.M.S Bookshop to open an independent art studio in Lagos, in collaboration with J.D. Akeredolu, a sculptor and Museum technologist. During this period, Akinola Lasekan organized Diploma art training courses for Nigerian youths. The programme-involved training in book illustration, Commercial art, Colouring, Landscape, Element and Figure drawing. In January 1941, St Gregory’s College, Lagos, Eko Boys High School and St. Mary’s Convent School, Lagos engaged him as an Art teacher.

Photo shows some of the works of Akinola Lasekan.

Source: News Express

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