Sunday, April 24, 2016

Meet the Artist... Eddy Aigbe

Eddy Aigbe is a Nigerian born Birmingham based visual artist, multimedia painter and art tutor. Presently, he's the resident artist at the Lozells Methodist Community Centre. Eddy has been passionately producing art and teaching art to an international audience. His current work utilizes a complex application of mixed media and, textured collage with thick layers.

Si: Hi Eddy, and welcome to the exhibition blog.
Your work is beautifully expressive - the colour and the textures in your paintings are fantastic - and at the same time there's a lot of careful observation and serious draughtsmanship going on there too.
Could you tell us a bit about how you work, and how the paintings come about?

Eddy: Thank you Si. My process involves way more thought than physical activity. I tend to throw myself in deep about a lot of things. From, what needs to be communicated, to what symbols, colours, and forms will best convey my intent. Writing , and sketching ideas until, a eureka moment (or not) appears.

I work with varied mediums, starting with plastic to acrylic mediums, and everything else in between. I layer compatible mediums and build this up until I'm satisfied. I then start the colouring process, building layers of colour from purposeful to subliminal, and back again. That's the most simple way that I can explain it.

Si: I think that you can really see those processes at work in your paintings...
Meanwhile, I've seen some work-in-progress shots of your piece for our exhibition, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it finished and hung in St Ed's church.
Is there anything that you can tell us about the thinking and ideas that have gone into it?

Eddy: My work is based on Blake's center of thought, that people should take responsibility for change, to desire and, build a better society. My education and life has been strongly influenced by both Nigerian and British society. This has placed me in a very unique relational perspective, in my (rather short but, fruitful) study of Blake's work. His work relates very much with other radical poets and play writers from Nigeria, in the likes of Prof. Wole Shoyinka and Prof. Chinua Achebe. These radicals from different continents, share a commonality in the belief that through a creative mental struggle, imagination will produce the desired catalyst for desired change. The mental struggle is the focal point of my work.

Mirroring Blake's works, I have used symbolism in form, color and, composition to depict this mental fight as it were, dominating the canvas with yellows (a symbol of hope), purple (symbols of power and contrastingly, wisdom), and violets (representing the future, the imagination and dreams). The main figure in the painting, is surrounded by  a landscape of 'dark satanic' mills, anguish, and oppressive institutions (both political and religious), which do not fulfill their intended creation.

But this 'man' represents within it, humanity's physical and spiritual self,  emerging from this 'satanic mill' albeit, reborn. His eye lighted by faith, while he looks up with hope at the the trees above for divine support (the trinity? Nature?) that bear freedom, salvation, and positive change within them. And though his lips be barred from expression, he yet speaks without a voice, surrounding himself with symbols and colours of his hopes and desires.
For me, this is the exact moment that the birth pains of emancipation starts... From within, in the imagination...

The Gospel of John chapter 3 verse 3
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

With those immortal words, true emancipation starts.

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