Nigerian artist Raji Bamidele’s solo exhibition at Absa Gallery deals with the big question of life

By Edward Tsumele CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor

When you enter the ABSA Art Gallery in Johannesburg CBD on Main Street, you will encounter art works on the walls which will give you an illusion of watching a group of ballerinas in top flight in captivating dance moves. But it is exactly just that –an illusion.

This is because the reality of the matter is that these colourful paintings s=depict something much deeper. Once you spent a bit of time focussing on each individual painting, the exhibition will take you deeper into the into elevated state of intellectual consciousness, pulling and immersing your mind into the depth of  spiritual and philosophical realms, making you question the idea of your own existence and role in life.

And so do not be cheated by the appearance of ballerinas in top dance. Rather focus on the big philosophical question of your existence, and that way you will be able to relate well to the narrative that the artist, is driving here. As you move around, these images will start assuming the appearance of struggling souls as they float in the air looking for something that is not quite obvious but you start to believe deep down it is there somewhere.

Through this exhibition aptly titled The Melodious Struggles of Souls and Consciousness, a solo exhibition by Raji Bamidele, the 2019 absa L’Átelier Ambassador from Lagos, which opened on Thursday, 24 August 2023, the artist delves deeply into the issue of religion and philosophy. The exhibition will also confront you the viewer with your own questions about your own existence and purpose in life. Aesthetically, these paintings are actually a marvel and eye catching, and are calling for collectors interested in hanging art works in their homes that are quite eye-catching.

The exhibition, encouragingly attracted young audiences who if not fully grasping the philosophical grounding of the exhibition, were without doubt left in awe of the artist and his superior art practice. Who cares about understanding the big question of an exhibition if your eyes are pleased with what you see on the walls after all?

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