It takes months, sometimes a year or more, this is not an art that is rushed. That’s wood carving for you.
I stared with rapt attention as the tour guide described this craft, one thing remained astonishing to me, details and precision. A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Genesis Art Gallery in Osogbo. To be honest, I think I’ve lately become acquainted with art.
Check out my visit to Nike Art Gallery.
Genesis Art Gallery is situated at No 2, Bolarinwa Street, Off Iyana Camp Area, Ote Efun, Osogbo, Osun State and it’s all angles of marvelous. The funny thing is I almost missed my visit to this virtuous gallery, I was sleeping when I suddenly remembered and I had to hurry to the location on a hot afternoon, that’s a story for another day. The gallery is the second largest art gallery in South West, Nigeria just after Nike Art Gallery.
On arrival, the gallery was in an ambient state. I was lucky to be there at the time because it wasn’t a “peak period”, entry is free.
I headed straight to the workshop where the founder, Mr Adeyinka Fabayo was carving wood at the time, unfortunately, visitors weren’t allowed to be at the workshop. He was working with a lot of timber, chisels and other stuff.
One thing that strikingly amazed me is the building’s façade, wall tiles had unique patterns and figures. During production, clay is used to form a cast and mortar is poured into it, after drying, hardened mortar is separated from the cast, laid and painted to any desired colour. The process takes considerable time.
I retraced my steps to the arts gallery and was astounded by legion of wood carvings on the ground floor of the 3-floor complex. The institution exhibits works of art ranging from pencil sketches, batiks, metal works, paintings with mixed media etc.
The gallery’s inventory are beautifully arranged and organised. Wood carvings really caught my eyes, they made me throw tons of questions to the tour guide. I’ll later discuss how it’s made.
Another thing that got my attention is a painting technique known as colour separation, outlines are designed on a computer software and printed on canvas. The job of the artist is to paint, they are mostly monochromatic.
Also, stylish furniture such as dining sets and chairs were displayed in the gallery. Although polished, they were made from cut out timber.
“We are committed to the resuscitation and rejuvenation of the pristine Osogbo Art culture which lured the spirit of Ulli Bier and late Susan Wenger and others to the town and state. We are propelled by that inner conviction that what led to the Mbari – Mbayo Club are still here only crying for proper direction and packaging” – Mr Adeyinka Fabayo
I’ve been gushing about wood carvings in the arts gallery. Let me say once more, they were amazing!
The art gallery was formally commissioned by Ikubabayeye, Oba Dr. Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi, Alaafin of Oyo under the Chairmanship of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Executive Governor of Osun state at the time and other esteemed figures. It opened for exhibition 7th April, 2018.
The story behind wood carvings:
I won’t treat this as a “wikipedia writeup” as I might have done with articles in the past. All I can say is wood carving is a time consuming endeavor that requires patience for even simplest pieces.
To begin, the choice of wood the artists desires for a job is acquired. They are categorized into hardwood and softwood. Hardwood popularly used are ebony, mahogany, iroko etc. while a wood traditionally called “omo” wood is a common softwood.
The tour guide further explained that for wood carving beginners, it is better to start training with hard wood rather than soft wood. He said though professionals could use both well, beginning with hardwood enables you master wood carving better.
After acquisition of timber, the artist sketches whatever he wants to carve on the trunk. He starts carving using a set of chisels and other tools, some softwood can literally be carved using finger nails!
When carving is concluded, “sand paper” is used to smoothen the edges and face.
Polishing happens next, this is not a compulsory step depending on what the artist wants to achieve. Natural polish, neutral, brown or black polish (for leather shoes and bags) is applied on the piece until it reaches a final sparkle.
Different types of finishes can be applied on the artwork.
The craft is used to decorate interior and exterior spaces including offices, institutions, gardens and private homes.
At the moment, Genesis Art Gallery is an international brand.
The founder, Mr. Adeyinka Fabayo took a giant leap for Nigerian indigenous art by displaying works of eight Nigerian artists in his gallery, because of this resilience, Genesis Art Gallery has had exhibitions all around the world including United Kingdom, Brasil, Ghana, Germany and Equitora Guniea.
“We have set our hands on the plough of reactivation of the cultural aura of Osogbo, we are going to institute a chain of cultural-tourism activities planted on the fundamentals of the various forms of arts works and perception . Those authentic, natural, inspirational and grassroots arts which once made Osogbo the second tourists destination in Nigeria” – Mr Adeyinka Fabayo
The gallery is a hub of paintings, wood carvings, aluminium repousse, metal sculpture, print making and furniture. Today, it is recognized as one of the major tourist destinations in Osogbo, Osun State, a town rich in artistic history and culture.
A Brief History of Genesis Art Gallery:
Genesis Art Gallery started in 1990 in Ila Orangun as a craft shop and later relocated to Osogbo. It was formally commissioned on 7th April, 2018.
The Headquarter was built out of love and passion for African arts, culture and people, its official opening included exhibition of works by upcoming and master artists in the art society: Yinka Fabayo, Rabiu Adeleke, P.L. Olanipekun, Dotun Popoola, Taiwo Adeyeye, Prince Iyiola Kazeem (Elemona) and Olarewaju Realwan.
…culled from Adeyinka Fabayo’s Introducing Genesis Art Gallery.
Genesis Art Gallery has enjoyed an influx of tourists that admire African Arts. If you ever find yourself in the “land of virtue” be sure you visit the second largest art gallery in South West, Nigeria.
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve been or intend to see art galleries across Nigeria, don’t forget to join our newsletter.
Have a great day!