With oil, Imhonigie reconnects humanity to nature

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Painter from Polytechnic Auchi, Imoesi Imhonigie shares his preference for naturalism.

British artist Imoesi Imhonigie has a preference for naturalism. In paintings of vegetation, humans and climate, he brings beauty to art lovers and his patrons who collect his works around the world.

“The purpose of my art is to help reconnect humanity to nature, which we have lost track of due to our busy daily lives and urbanization which has alienated us from nature and its healing powers. “, said the artist during a discussion of his works.

“If you are too busy to go into nature, I will bring nature to you from the comfort of your living room with my naturalistic paintings. This is another positive way to connect with nature to receive its natural benefits,” a- he added.

Some of his works tell the story of rural and urban diversity in landscapes, streetscapes and other past landscapes related to the environment that modernity has eroded in recent years. For Imhonigie, art is accompanied by a vocation of responsibility towards humanity.

Imhonigie argued that nature and man are meant to stay together, noting that “attunement with the Universal Force that rules the world must be respected. Among his works is a piece titled “The Green Land”, capturing an aerial view with mountains on the horizon blending into the sky and the hazy atmospheric conditions of the weather. The painting is a beauty to behold! “Different shades of blue are used in this painting to best express the feelings it evokes and a touch of warmth to complete the painting in a poetic texture,” Imhonigie explained.

Other Imhonigie paintings with more depth in the preservation of nature and culture include ‘Cacophony of Nature’, a piece the artist explained as a “way to make a statement about human destruction of nature as a result of global warming and its impact on humanity”.

There is also ‘Obigbai’ (traditional drummer), which he calls Egbokobia, a traditional masquerade dance of the Unota people of Ayogwiri in Etsako, Edo State. “It is an ancestral depiction of life after death, and the painting bears the title of the major drummer who controls the dance and its tune.”

Another of his works, “Harmattan”, celebrates the dry and cold November weather and the first quarter of the year in Nigeria.

Like most Nigerian artists, Imhonigie’s time in the commercial capital of the country, Lagos, is still reflected in his art, especially on urbanization. As a business hub for West Africa, Lagos has its challenges, especially in public transport and small businesses. Imhonigie, in the painting titled ‘Old Oshodi Market’, revisits a central Lagos public transport axis

notorious for disorder in a strange mix of traders and carriers on roads and railways.

Taken from a bird’s eye view, Imhonigie’s “Oshodi Old Market” depicts a real-time situation in which the artist noted, “This is where you will see traders selling their market on the tracks railed. This shows that Lagosians can go the extra mile to survive. You will be quite amazed at how the sound of the approaching train will dismantle this bustling market.

Imhonigie graduated from the Federal Polytechnic in Auchi, Edo State with a National Higher Diploma in Painting and General Art, majoring in Painting in 1999. After graduation, he embarked on into a full-time career as a studio artist. He then continued with a four-year residency which began in 2005 at the National Gallery of Art, Lagos (Nigeria). Imhonigie was an executive member of the Lagos State Chapter of the Society of Nigeria Artist (SNA) as Financial Secretary. He is an environmental activist with his works depicting a variety of landscapes.

Imhonigie’s paintings are influenced by nature; this is the philosophical basis of his paintings. It also generally captures the co-relation between the environment and humanity. His works also express the dynamism and vibrant nature of African culture, including traditional religions and urbanization. Imhonigie’s works are mostly oils on canvas and he paints with a palette knife.

Imhonigie has exhibited widely and his work is appreciated by public and private collections. He is a member of the Nigeria Artist Society, UK and the Society of Nigeria Artists (SNA). Imhonigie entered the Sky Landscape Artist of The Year 2020/2021 competition and reached the second round.

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