Recently on TwitterNG there’s been a rush of incredible paintings, maybe I should call it a movement of young Nigerian artists revealing to us their stellar qualities through their paintings. A lot of which are hyper realism paintings by Ayo Filade and Ken Nwadiogbu (these two artists got me glaring at their works for so long). And of course this is my first time of seeing hyperrealism paintings…so I got an article on hyperrealism paintings titled “The Far Road” by Paul Cadden…. hyperrealism is more than just techniques, it is the artist narrating his feelings into a painting which can be tricky to the eye sometimes. The subject leads us into focusing on the feelings and the message that is passed across.
So since I could not bring myself to stop looking at Ken Nwadiogbu’s artworks, I just had to pick one of them and critique…. “If I start to talk”…
“If I start to talk” by Ken Nwadiogbu was done in 2015 through 2017, using charcoal and silver leaf on paper, he brought into existence this thought-provoking painting. This art piece is an incredible one, but of course there is more to it than meet the eye. Staring at this piece for the first time I felt the pain or the pangs of a man behind bars. Certainly it is only when we look closely that we can connect with this art piece and then gradually comprehend the message it is passing across. So taking a longer and closer look, it unveils the state of an oppressed man who is being deprived of certain freedom… a slave of circumstance. There’s an axe head (an object of oppression) showing a man’s face beneath it, with an X (the X seemed like shreds of white cloth at first) taped across his mouth. A man struggling to make his voice heard but has his mouth taped, a man who wants to see the world but his vision is partly blocked.
The black and silvery hues seems cold and stark and at the same time draws us, the viewers, to the painting. Thereby deepening the sympathy one can garner and invoking our deepest feelings. And in return, we become somber and subdued in dark thoughts as empathy is brought to light.
A well rounded painting with highlight and shadow enhancing the effects of the face. The
blended charcoal and the shadow cast by the axe head blends into the background. It is intriguing that this painting which is more or less a portrait looks in the direction of the negative space as it were looking straight at us the viewers.
To me the theme of oppression and the inner struggles of man stands out. The struggles we can’t tell people, that which haunts us daily, trying to pull us under and sometimes drown us in the tide of life.
While taking a look at Ken Nwadiogbu’s works, I saw the boldness, vibrance, and energy they possess but then they are not loud, they merely shove down their feelings inside us. And having a chat with him a few days back I discovered that the act of painting is not just an urge to create but a way of liberating the self from the shackles of locked up memories and experiences.
From my first view to subsequent views of the painting, my impression didn’t change it only got better. The artist started in 2015, then a pause and he finished it in 2017 so I can say it’s not just a piece of art but a piece of a man’s life and effort. I’d love to have it hanging in my study…who knows it could always be a source of inspiration.
This art piece of Ken Nwadiogbu is a deep and sensational portrayal of hyperrealism which he truly represents.
Till the next …