Muse & Murals / Spotlight

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Oresegun Olumide – Nigerian Hyperrealist Artist

Muse & Murals / Spotlight IMG_20160614_085307

Nigerian hyperrealist artist, Oresegun Olumide created a sandstorm online after he decided to share some of his ingenious oil paintings on Facebook and Twitter. He has since become a sensation of some sorts as he gets international recognitions and features in the international media, including CNN and CCTV.
Olumide speaks to Maktoub from his studio in Ikorodu, Lagos on what makes his works such a pull among his contemporaries and the recurring themes of water and the girl child in his drawings.

How do you achieve the hyperealistic effect in your artwork?
Rather than use references, images or pictures to draw, I study life keenly and feed my eyes with social activities around me. Then I try to create a 3D effect of my impressions to make them as close to real life as possible. That is why the art form is called hyperrealism. My art skills are also the aggregation of over 10 years field experience and progressing from impression to realism art form and now to hyperrealism.

Quite a number of your art work depict faces of young girls in the rain or market women in the market… What inspires your muse?
I am mostly inspired by my environment, the places I visit and my childhood experiences. I am still evolving and I cannot really tell much stories about the present through my art; so I often look far back to 10-20 years ago to recreate powerful and nostalgic images from the past. That is why I make use of children to tell my story and, at the same time, the African story.

What messages do you try to pass across with your art?
In my artworks, I try to draw focus to what has been neglected and remind the government that every child has a talent and a passion which should be encouraged and cultivated. Most children are gifted but people might not see or notice them because they’re hidden or not on the surface. So I feel if I can portray some of these childhood activities, the society can see and view children more realistically from the perspectives of their passion and natural potentials. These are things I advocate for. For example, you will notice the girl child reading features prominently in my works and in Nigeria there are some people and culture who don’t like the idea of the girl child getting educated. So these kinds of images help to pass these messages of some societal ills more powerfully to my audience.

What has been the reception to your work, especially after being featured on CNN edition?
Yes, people have a misconception or stereotype that only Europeans or Americans can really create such high quality art and that Africans can only do art craft. So tried to break that barrier and let me people know that art is not all about skill, it is also about the image you can create in your mind. The spirit is the same all over the world; it is just the theme that is different. The acceptance to my art has been quite good because people can now see and appreciate the fact that Africans can also create high quality art, and even much better, tell our local stories ourselves through the drawings and paintings rather than Westerners doing it for us…

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