Royalty met arts at the 106 art exhibition, the first of its kind in Nigeria, as the show was held at a construction site in Eko Atlantic City, Lagos State, over the weekend.
The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, and the Elegushi of Ikate Saheed Elegushi were among the guests who graced the glamourous solo art exhibition of a contemporary artist and architect Olubukola Bolarinde.
Art, glamour, and entertainment were packed in one at the 106 art exhibition as Ms Bolarinde fused art and architecture.
The exhibition, tagged ‘106 Expressions’, marked the debut of Ms Bolarinde as a solo artist.
The dignitaries’ studded event blended culture, arts, entertainment, business and networking.
The event featured more than 80 paintings by the self-taught artist and architect and a fashion exhibition of 20 curated pieces by prominent fashion designers.
While the event started with music and dance performances at the entrance of a construction site of Arkland Construction, Eko Atlantic City, guests could not wait to experience all the artist had in store at her solo exhibition.
Some of the guests at the exhibition were the famed most prominent private art collector Yemisi Shyllon; founder of Elizade Group of Companies, Michael Ade-Ojo; Managing Director James Cubitt Architects, Alan Davies; Managing Director Arkland Group, Jide Olumodimu, former Minister of Health, Abimbola Ogunkelu; General Manager Corporate Affairs, MTN Nigeria, Omasan Ogisi; and Managing Director VFD Group, Nonso Okpala.
Nollywood actors Judith Audu and Omowunmi Dada, who attended the event, also viewed the over 80 pieces of art paintings Ms Bolarinde displayed at the event.
The host’s parents, elder statesman and foremost industrialist Samuel Bolarinde and his wife, Olufunke, were also present at the event.
The art exhibition, curated by foremost culture and art custodian Nike Davies-Okundaye, had over 80 works of art on display.
The auditorium was split into sections, and one part was a walkway through over 80 paintings lined successively in a meandering space, which welcomed guests into the main hall.
The images depicted different stories of traditions, history and humanities, such as the Wusasa painting, an artistic tribute to the Christian community nestled in Zaria, Kaduna.
Another artwork was a painting of the Ooni, while a portrait of the kerosene lantern titled ‘Atupa’ reflected Ms Bolarinde’s childhood memories.
The other part of the show showcased 20 dresses that infused Ms Bolarinde’s artistic insight through the help of two creatives, Vonnemac Couture and Isi Atagamen.
Models showcased the costumes on a makeshift runway flanked by guests.
Each fabric on the runway was made in Nigeria by Nigerians.
Commending her efforts in promoting and drawing awareness to the art and culture space, the Ooni said: “Bolarinde is formidable to give back to society. She brings a wealth of knowledge in the arts and uses that to connect everyone. She has so much passion for many things.”
Representing the prolific art and culture custodian Nike Okundaye, the exhibition curator, Yinka Paramole, lauded Ms Bolarinde’s approach to her art.
She said: “Bukola’s approach towards her art is using it to tell African stories. Her point of reference usually shows the challenges and difficulties encountered by Africans daily. Each piece exhibited today has a unique story to tell.”
A trained architect from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL), Ms Bolarinde explained that her vision for the exhibition was to bring her two passions, art and architecture, in their most accurate form. Thus, her choice of venue.
She said: “I wanted to do something that nobody has ever done before,” Ms Bolarinde revealed. “There has never been an art exhibition staged on a construction site nestled in a safe, clean environment with a rustic feel. I wanted to bring those two worlds together that represent who I am.”
An art auction was also held, with the first art piece set at $10,000.
Another artwork, titled Olugbode, an oil painting of a lamp on canvas, was billed N 1.8 million. In contrast, another beautiful piece named Aduke, an image of the face of a lovely lady with a tribal mark, was billed for N1.5 million.
However, the corporate professional with over 20 years of experience gleaned from industries like oil and gas, banking, and telecommunications, confirmed they had already purchased most of the art pieces before the exhibition.
Away from the art exhibition, the guests were also thrilled by entertainment from various cultural dance groups who ushered in guests at the event’s entrance.
However, at the after-party, dancehall superstars Patoranking, Oritsefemi and Goya Menor thrilled the audience with their performances as they enjoyed the refreshments of the evening.
Ms Bolarinde also noted that a follow-up art exhibition would be held in Venice, Italy, later this year.
Prominent brands at the exhibition included Coca-Cola Nigeria with their premium spirit brand, Macallan, Schweppes Nigeria, Billecart Salmon Champagne and Artsplit, who were the preferred platform for the online auction.