Above: © Adegboyega Adesina, courtesy the artist and Destinee Ross-Sutton, 2021
Seeing is believing. Destinee Ross-Sutton’s Ross-Sutton Gallery delivers – A show of kindred spirits, by duo Adegboyega Adesina and Johnson Eziefula.
Curated by Destinee Ross-Sutton, this new show ‘A Friendly Exchange’ features a conversation between Lagos-based artists Adeboyega Adesina and Johnson Eziefula, kindred spirits. They are fully committed to interpreting what is happening in Lagos now. The full expression, confidence, beauty, and luxuriating of life are the driving forces here. In no way a contrast to what is happening politically. These works beautifully capture the bravery and confidence of today’s youth. In essence, the ‘And Still I Rise’ of 2021.
To quote Maya Angelou –
‘Does my sassiness upset you?/Why are you beset with gloom?/’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells/Pumping in my living room.’
Fresh from the Ross-Sutton premier New York show, “BLACK VOICES: Friend of My Mind’, this winter, each artist shines with the stroke of their brush. These works are deeply pigmented and unabashedly hued. They are clear and perfectly complement one another as brightly as Basquiat and Warhol’s ever did.
Take, for instance, Eziefula’s ‘Girl with the Bantu Knots’ (Mixed Media on canvas, 46 x 37 ins.) With a Mona Lisa smile and a branded crop top to match – it is clear she knows something you don’t. Beginning with tradition and this very moment, she allows us to know she is well acquainted with herself. Her family would be proud. A reply could be Adesina’s, ‘My Dream Suit’ and an update to Larry Blackmon’s well-known quaffed and crowned visage. He provides subsonic reinforcement to what it means to be young, in a world ever closer, but unable, in many cases, to connect. Their pallets inject fresh, compelling narratives that work. Ross-Sutton says of the project, “‘A Friendly Exchange’ represents a commitment to making an excellent and timeless artistic statement. These works have struck a deep chord in my heart that I hope continues to resonate in yours.”
The show features works that beam with springtime freshness and the timelessness of joy and a well-put-together look. Not to be outdone by any photograph (yes, photograph) of today. The golden light showed wholeness and personhood in each painting – the sort that we have been yearning for many months on in this new world.
‘A Friendly Exchange’ renders interesting, provocative melodies in this duet and harmonies that will keep you wanting more. The lyrics of these works are personal and convey a host of emotions from navigating reality, the imagination and life as a human being in today’s world.