ADEMOLA AKINTOLA was born in Oyo state Nigeria in 1952. He has exhibited widely both in Africa, Europe and U.S.A. As a self-taught artist, his work has a chameleon like quality which never hesitates to experiment and adopt new materials. He uses a mixture of traditional metal foil etching and modernist abstraction, using these two stylistic poles he creates his individual style. His motifs are cultural narratives discursive formations coded in a specific Nigerian discourse; an amalgam of idiomatic expressions, proverbs and traditions, both from childhood and contemporary life.
He acknowledges his mother as the base of his creativity, through the imaginative shapes she used to bake bread into- elephants, tigers, drums- shapes which we can see recurring in his own work. Through symbolism, abstraction and vivid colour he narrates his stories, in “Ekun-Saare” he tells of a boy who escapes from what he thinks is a tiger but is really an antelope. Ademola brings us a series of lively paintings which are visual narratives of African storytelling, combined with the political realities of contemporary life.
ADEMOLA AKINTOLA is a well-known Nigerian artist and we are pleased to welcome his work in our gallery. The Africa Centre is a cultural and educational charity whose aim is to provide a forum in London for the discussion and appreciation of African affairs and exists for people who are interested in Africa. It is funded by its own activities, donations from African Governments, trusts, international organizations, charities, public funding bodies and membership fees. The gallery as part of the African Centre’s programme aims to offer its local public the opportunity to view art from Africa and for African artists to share their work with new audiences. Please help the Africa Centre to continue with this work by either making a donation or becoming a member.
Ademola Akintola had only two months of formal art teaching at the end of his secondary school career and since then has been working and experimenting on his own. When the idea for a painting comes to him, sometimes from his experiences and sometimes from his imagination, he allows his thoughts to crystallize and then starts work, guided by his intuition. He Works in an amazing variety of styles and techniques, ranging from the naturalism of his portrait of Nelson Mandela, hero of the South African liberation struggle, through the severely stylized “Barren Hopes” to the abstraction of ‘The Elders”.
IR ‘Barren Hopes” Ademola uses straws from a sleeping-mat glued to the picture-surface to build. up the image of seated woman holding a calabash whose dark red contents pour out on the ground. Such potent symbolism needs no explanation, conveying its message on an almost physical level. ‘The Elders”, explained Ademola, depicts a solemn midnight gathering of old men who have come together to perform rites to protect the community. The figures are reduced to vertical lines of dark but varying slightly in intensity, with here and there a glean of dark red which hints at the spilling of blood.