Nigeria: Temple Muse Hosts Victor Butler's First Exhibition in Nigeria

14 December 2018

Yinka Olatunbosun

The clock ticks as Victor Butler, a leading international artist from Ghana shows his tasteful collection at Temple Muse, a luxury store in Victoria Island, Lagos. The theme for this show is Nuance.

Featuring 23 paintings on canvas and two prints, the self-taught artist is largely influenced by his African identity and culture which seep through his abstract surrealism.

With over 30 years of studio practice, this thoroughbred-Ghanaian artist arrived in Lagos just in time for the West Africa's premier Art Fair, Art X where some of his works were featured.

In this show curated by SMO Contemporary Art, Butler gives a poetic interpretation of his African world-view using subject matters of humanity. For instance, in his painting titled, "The Volunteer", the artist offers a profound commentary on the decline in the spirit of volunteering.

"Volunteering is what defines a community. It is giving a bit of your time for a common cause," Butler said during a recent preview of his works. In another piece titled, "Mother and Daughter," he examines the character-shaping role of a mother in the life of a girl-child.

One of his works that stirred some debate in the room during the preview is "Shelter III", which has a female figure in a cave with a book. Butler argued that the shelter for the woman in that painting does not come from the immediate environment but the imagined one created in the book.

His oil on canvas piece titled, "Iroko" is the artist's way of making a comparative study of the iroko symbol in different cultural climate. In his findings, Iroko does not have the same sacred place in history in his home country, Ghana as it is in Nigeria or elsewhere.

In his work titled, "Witnesses", Butler paints an abstract sea of faces with interwoven eyes, each fixing their stare on the same scene but with different interpretations, looks and depth of reasoning; some faces look complete while others have either one or two eyes missing or altogether lack the ability to speak through mouthless faces.

"Nuance is one-of-a-kind journey of discovery into Butler's world, exploring the meaning of community, culture, time and space, permanence versus relevance," stated Sandra Mbanefo-Obiago.

In the same vein, the Director of Temple Muse, Avinash Wadhwani remarked that the works offer a glimpse to the future realities.

"Nuance fits perfectly into both visual art and contemporary fashion as Butler's futuristic designs and forms resonate with a renaissance creative community in Lagos and beyond," he said.

The show, which is sponsored by Access Bank and VeuveClicquot, runs till January.

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