Visiting Art Galleries is pretty simple: Search Google Maps, Choose your Best Hours and Go without any Money
In September of 2019, I took a bus from Osogbo to the apex of yoruba culture – Ile-Ife. My itinerary for the journey was pretty basic: see an old friend, visit the Natural History Museum and Museum of Antiquities and Contemporary African Art in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). But then, everything changed after I unravelled a beauty perched on Ede Road.
Omidiran Art Gallery Present Location:
25, Ede Road, Along OAU, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
You’ll need to focus carefully in order not to miss the gallery and if you’re a sucker for African Arts, I suggest you alight at the location instead of Ife Bus Park. You can also walk for about 15 minutes if you want to explore street murals.
At Omidiran Art Gallery, a cool water fountain and a few artistic works encased in glassware are the first items that welcome casual visitors or art patrons. Inside the gallery, the one-and-only person I saw was a beautiful lady who expected art and craft enthusiasts like myself.
Altogether, I spent about an hour in Omidiran with the lady guide, I even managed to take some photos before she informed me that that wasn’t allowed. Without further ado, here are 5 THINGS NOBODY TELLS YOU ABOUT OMIDIRAN ART GALLERY.
I couldn’t help but enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the Gallery. While I was in, slow and soothing music played in the background and the music wasn’t “gbada gbodo” like my mum would usually say. Plus the air con, the songs made the interior heavenly and very relaxing.
2. SET UP
“Can you say for sure that every single artwork in this room is by one man?” I asked agog while anticipating a contrary response. Then surprisingly, the lady stylishly nodded.
Over 5,000 Artworks all by Omidiran! That’s puzzling and incomprehensible at the same time!! Some of these artworks were grouped into collections to create an all exclusive and aesthetically friendly place.
Though, only Omidiran’s works are exhibited in his Ile-Ife gallery, he still discovers new works of art and caters for the mastery needs of future artists.
3. ART WORTHINESS
Throughout my time in the Gallery, the tour guide seemed very knowledgeable about Mr Omidiran and his artworks. After a short stroll from the Ife Roundabout where I noticed a yoruba deity head, I was surprised again to see the same “olokun” in Omidiran, as if it was something popular with Ile-Ife.
At the time of my visit, there was barely any space in the room… art was all over the place, on the walls, floors, beams, columns, everywhere!!!
In Odin’s voice, “Mr Omidiran is worthy.” The heads in the Gallery looked similar to the ones in Benin City and that I’m most proud of because y’know…
Omidiran Art Gallery in a strange sort of way reminded me of Nike Art Gallery back in Lagos. Even though the total appearance was quite different from anything in Nike, the showcased works were somehow outstandingly similar.
Ha! Omidiran takes wood collage to a whole new level and let’s not even go to the 3 dimensional artworks and bronze heads.
Omidiran Art Gallery just like Nike wasn’t located at one base alone, there were other branches in Gbagada Estate, Lagos and the Richland Washington States, USA.
If you’ve got the right amount, Omidiran could be yours for a short while. Basically, “rentage” options vary from photoshoot sessions to videography sessions to small groupings and many more.
Since the Gallery is endowed with a versatile art collection ranging from bust art up to motifs, it could add an electric touch to music video shoots. Prices start at 5,000 Naira for every hour and the Gallery closes on weekdays by 6pm and 5pm on weekends.
BUT WAIT! WHO IS OMIDIRAN?
Full Name, Mr Omidiran Paul Gbolade. He is a graduate of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University with a B.A and M.F.A Holder from the Institution in the Arts Department.
Now, he is a prolific artist with a lot of artworks under his belt. Also, he immerses himself in his craft because according to the guide, he is always working on something.
One of Omidiran’s accomplishments asides art is lecturing Fine Artists in his alma mater. He discovered a unique painting technique in which the back of a mirror is cut and trimmed and he coined this – mirror painting.
Today, I know that stopping by Omidiran Art Gallery actually made my Ife itinerary way better… Mr Gbolade’s Gallery was some cities away from homelessness… sorry, where I stayed. It was such an awesome place to be.
Moments later, I was still able to finish my to-do list… I found myself newly impressed by the beauty of Ile-Ife.
I hope with these few points of mine, I’ve been able to convince and not confuse you that Omidiran Art Gallery is definitely somewhere you should be? Think about it, if thousands have visited, what’s your excuse?