Saturday, 26 May 2012

American scholar researches Nigerian pioneer cartoonist, Lasekan

Promoting educational research and scholarship on Nigerian art, the Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF) Fellowship program, has admitted another scholar, Amanda Hellman of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

Every year, scholars from reputable universities across the world are given the OYASAF Fellowship Grant to research a particular area of Nigerian art.

Amanda is an art historian and curator, whose interest is in the study of the works of Akinola Lasekan, one of Nigeria’s art pioneer artists. An important objective of her stay with OYASAF is to research into traditional African art and museum development in Nigeria.

Amanda Hellman of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

On arrival, Hellman told OYASAF team that negative and disheartening stories about Nigeria were not enough to discourage her from coming. She noted that there are very positive aspects of Nigeria, which attracted her, based on information gathered from friends in U.S. and England. This, she said made it easier to  accept the OYASAF Fellowship Grant. Though visiting Nigeria for the first time, she stated that she has so far found Nigeria to be very interesting and unlike every other place she has visited across the world.


Since her arrival at OYASAF, she has met other visiting scholars such as Professor Kazunobu Ikeya, from the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan and a lecturer of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Osun State, Southwest Nigeria, Mr. Steve Folaranmi.

Hellman also partook in the arrangement of art works at the Metropolitan Club in Victoria Island, Lagos. She has visited places of interests in Lagos such as Quintessence Gallery, Falomo, Jazzhole, Ikoyi, Nike Art Gallery, Lekki, Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Yaba, Jankara and Balogun markets.

  She revealed that having seen the diversified collection of OYASAF, it goes to multiply her inspiration and love for traditional African art. She expressed her high esteem and appreciation for the aesthetic value in traditional African art.

Amanda is a strong follower of Lasekan’s work, and has been introduced to some number of the artist’s works in the OYASAF collection. The works she has seen confirms the high value, style, technique and method of approach in Lasekan’s paintings coupled with the philosophy behind the artist’s work. She has extensively read articles written by Lasekan and looks forward to working with museums in Nigeria, especially the Lagos museum. 

  She intends to meet her counterparts in the Lagos, Ibadan, and Ife art circles as well as visiting artists' studios in Lagos as part OYASAF's programming for her.

  Amanda has also been studying traditional African art in Nigeria’s colonial era and therefore looks forward to her research work in OYASAF.

  She is highly impressed with the diversity and quality of the collection of OYASAF that she has so far encountered. She has experienced viewing at close range, a large number of the OYASAF collection, even though she is yet to cover much of these works which cut across all aspects of modern, traditional and contemporary painting, sculpture and photograph.

 Hellman hopes that after her research work at OYASAF, she will share the refreshing experience of traditional African art and Lasekan’s work with her academic counterparts in the U.S.   

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