By Nii B. Andrews.
Busayo Lawal has explored the intricate patterns of aso oke cloth- the unique ceremonial, Yoruba cloth, for over two decades.
His preferred genre has been large abstract paintings or drawings on paper comprising intricate lines, color and texture.
This immediately recognisable “visual signature” also encodes multiplicity and diversity; “a combination of geometry and colour; square and rectangular blocks with competing intensity which are webbed over with thick sinuous lines”.
In the series of eight paintings entitled, “MR. SAY SOMETHING”, Busayo Lawal pays homage to the brave souls in his homeland and elsewhere who speak the irrepressible truth no matter what consequences will befall them.
Different color compositions of this set of images point to the universal prevalence of these fortified individuals.
Lawal is not interested in their visages so he employs abstraction.
What is interesting is that Lawal provides each image with a crown of hair – flowing locks (? dreadlocks) perhaps an allusion to power and tenacity.
Suffice it to say that among a significant portion of our “elite” class in this part of the world; blatant misinformation and frank derision of natural locked hair prevails….even in the face of facts and evidence.
Lawal explains, “The lavishly painted hair on the figures are loaded with the socio-political overlay of beauty and (racial) pride, amongst others”.
All told the series could serve as a strong reminder to all of us to speak out boldly in defence of the truth, or to highlight the truth.
Or is it that the yellow pragmatism which says, “Rome was not built in a day” is convenient, less controversial and more our speed; or in consonance with our entrenched culture of shady connivance for personal gain?
For those who prefer the latter path, Lawal laments, “I see this on a daily basis in my homeland and many times it’s usually painful and saddens the meekest of hearts” .
He continues, “I see the face in the work momentarily in a state of flux; in between the path to the truth and the opposite side.”
Busayo Lawal; Life in Asymmetry; August 7-26, 2021
Gallery 1 & 3;
kó | 36 Cameron Road, Flat 1A, Ikoyi, Lagos.