The Belmont Gallery of Art will host an exhibit of works entitled Expression by Yoruba artist Olusegun (Segun) Olorunfemi from October 11 until November 18. An evening opening is scheduled for Friday, October 14th, from 5 until 8pm. The public is cordially invited to attend.
The title piece is a sand painting that will be exhibited as a work in progress, introducing us to the Yoruba greeting Eka that is EKABO or E KU E WU ABO. Asked to translate, Olorunfemi smiles because the greeting has no direct English translation and requires explanation. It expresses a host’s honoured delight upon arrival of a visitor whose travels might have exposed them to any number of possible risks and dangers. Also illustrated are the many ways people express themselves.
As a professional artist Olorunfemi is listed in Who Is Who of Nigerian Art. Aside from having served as the artistic coordinator of the Toki Arts Centre in Ibadan, Nigeria, he is also recognized in his homeland as a dancer, musician and storyteller.
Commissioned mosaics for public spaces can be found in the Hilton Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria; the Mariposa Museum of World Cultures in Peterborough, New Hampshire, to list just a few. His participation in international exhibitions has taken his work as far as Europe.
Olorunfemi as educator has brought his gentle arts to thousands of children in public and alternative schools in the US. These residencies are organized by Very Special Arts New Hampshire. This institutional link between the US and Nigeria exists for the purpose of providing arts enrichment to schools throughout the state. Appointed Executive Director of Very Special Arts Nigeria in 2002, Olorunfemi has conducted workshops in Nigeria and the US since 1998. Most recently with the New Hampshire Institute of Art and NH State Council on the Arts, 2005 Arts in Education Conference: The Creative Journey.
In Yoruba culture artistic discipline can begin very early with observation and encouragement of acute attention to principles as practiced by accomplished artists. Extended exposure to these principles creates a depth of learning that then extends into other areas. Fast becoming known throughout New England as an ambassador at large for a voice celebrating the simple elegance of traditional wisdom, Olorunfemi images inspire recognition of the roots of human dignity.
Traditional Yoruba culture as expressed by Segun Olorunfemi presents a vision of life speaking to the universal nature of our hearts and minds. Expression is an apt title considering the wide variety of media, styles and subjects. The works exhibited include batik on rice paper, hand coloured linoleum prints, paintings in oil on paper as well as sand paintings and yarn paintings.
Gallery visitors may preview some earlier work by Olusegun Olorunfemi on his website, www.segunfemi.com.