Nigeria: 106 Expressions Captures the Nigerian Spirit With a Novel Twist

True to her word, Yellow Dot CEO Olubukola Bolarinde ensured that her guests at her solo art exhibition ‘106 Expressions’ held recently had an immersive experience starting from the venue, A&A Tower — which is still under construction. To many, it was an unusual site for an exhibition but a finishing stroke for Bolarinde whose natural habitat as an architect is a construction site.

“I wanted to do something that nobody has ever done before,” Bolarinde revealed. “There has never been an art exhibition staged on a construction site nestled in a safe, clean environment with a rustic feel to it. I wanted to bring those two worlds together that represent who I am.”

Guests were ushered into manual lifts which evoked different reactions ranging from fear to intrigue. On alighting from the elevators, the atmosphere changes to one that celebrates the true Nigerian spirit. Facing one of the elevators is a cultural group performing pulsating beats, on the right hand is a makeshift runway which would later showcase 20 dresses that infused Bolarinde’s artistic insight through the help of two creatives Vonnemac Couture and Isi Atagamen. Each fabric on the runway was made in Nigeria by Nigerians. An open space gave guests an opportunity to network.

Another part accommodated the over 80 paintings lined successively in a meandering space. 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 Bolarinde’s childhood memories.

The evening, graced by well-heeled guests including the artist’s parents, elder statesman and foremost industrialist, Chief Samuel Olaniyi Bolarinde and his wife, Olufunke;

Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Oba Saheed Elegushi; Alan Davies of James Cubitt Architects; founder of Elizade Group of Companies, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo; Managing Director of VFD Group, Nonso Okpala; General Manager Corporate Affairs, MTN Nigeria, Omasan Ogisi; Managing Director Arkland Group, Jide Olumodimu represented by Mehrez; Lagos State Head of Service, Hakeem Muri Okunola; former Minister of Health, Dr. Abimbola Ogunkelu; fashion designer Lanre Da Silva Ajayi;

Nollywood actors Judith Audu and Omowunmi Dada, among others, was one of many eccentric occurrences.

From the exhibition to the runway to music performances by dancehall superstar Patoranking, Oritsefemi and Goya Menor, who thrilled the audience with their performances as they enjoyed the refreshments of the evening, it was a festival of Nigerian culture.

Commending her efforts in promoting and drawing awareness to the art and culture space, Oba Ogunwusi said:

“Bolarinde is formidable to give back to society. She brings a wealth of knowledge in the arts and uses that to connect every one of us. She has so much passion for many things.”

Representing the prolific art and culture custodian Chief Nike Okundaye, the curator of the exhibition, Yinka Paramole lauded Bolarinde’s approach towards her art.

“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 on a daily basis. Each piece exhibited today has a unique story to tell.”

An art auction was also held with the first art piece set at $10,000. Asides from that, the corporate professional with over 20 years of experience gleaned from industries like oil and gas, banking, and telecommunications, confirmed that many of the art pieces had already been purchased before the exhibition.

Bolarinde also hinted at a follow-up art exhibition in Venice, Italy later this year.

Notable brands at the event 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.

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