Biodun Omolayo Art Gallery in its commitment to the promotion of Visual Arts, exhibited the works of Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey in a two weeks exhibition titled African Essence. It is not uncommon to hear the cliché; the artist is a mirror of the society but the truth is that, that’s exactly what it is. The Artist cannot but be influenced by the environment which plays host to him or her and give reign to creative imaginations. According to Jonathan, it has never being a challenge sourcing for subjects to work on. In his Artist statement, he explained how he gets his subjects. “Finding subjects is not difficult for me; most times the subjects seem to find me. Observing, walking, sketching, taking photographs all these offer creative opportunities. Wherever I am, I inspire myself to capture and transform that environment into my artistic vision. This allows me to entertain my viewers in various ways”
The works of Jonathan; all water colour, buttressed the whole point about the artist being a mirror of the society. In an interview with him during the exhibition, he explained the huge influence that came to play from his community while preparing for the exhibitions. He said he lives in a community where fishing is the major trade. This further explained the reason why the domineering theme in his exhibited works reflected water and the lifestyles of the people living around the community. Could this also be the reason why he chose watercolour as a medium of expression against acrylics which sets his foundation in painting? Just teasing, I must however say, I find a kind of correlation and rhyme between the use of Watercolour to express themes associated with water. Anyway, that’s something to think about in your own time. I must however commend Jonathan for choosing this medium. The dexterity and mastery expressed by this artist in the manipulation of a difficult medium like the watercolour which also shares similarities with the acrylic cannot be contested in anyway. His brush strokes and choice of colours gave life to his expression and brought to life, the mood and true feel of a rural community surrounded by water. This is the Artist’s first time of being in Nigeria to exhibit his works.
We must commend Biodun Omolayo, the brain behind the Biodun Omolayo Gallery for taking this giant stride in exhibiting the works of Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey; a young but vibrant Ghanaian watercolour artist. This according to Biodun is in line with the vision of the gallery to provide a platform for young talented artists in Nigeria and Africa to showcase their works and be known. This is the first time the gallery is going beyond the shores of Nigeria to bring in a foreign Artist to exhibit at the gallery.