Forty two-year-old Adubi Mydaz Makinde is a graduate of History and Diplomatic Studies, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, who has found a niche in art.
A native of Ogun State, Adubi, in his childhood days, was a regular weekend visitor to his father’s merchandise office in Sabo, Ibadan, Oyo State, where an exclusive community of Northern Hausa settlers were in the adjourning streets housing aboriginal cultural artefacts and sculptures. Till date, it is still home to some of the most highly priced articles of trade.
His melancholic self could only draw him to deep observations, as he was nicknamed “Alaworanla,” a Yoruba word for someone who gets carried away with looking at things of visual interest tentatively and making a fortune of it.
These cultural objects were to play a big part in Adubi’s depiction and stylisation of an austere figurative composition, giving voluptuous form to enigmatic faces, whose ethereal heads and bodies seem to flip right off the surface of canvas.
These sculptural imageries, having found a fertile ground in the burgeoning mind of the youngster, would be scrabbled into drawings during the school breaks and, out of these numerous practices, came the best fine art pupil in his primary school days.
Adubi’s love for what he calls “scrambled abstraction, geometry, vibrant colours, and overall design abilities” were developed during those early years.
The artist told First News, “There was a sign writer directly opposite my mother’s dressmaking workshop at Omitowoju, Ibadan, who, inadvertently, adopted me as a ‘kid art apprentice’. That studio of many colours and my mother’s work on vivid multi-patterned fabrics, no doubt, had a profound influence on me from that toddler age.”
He went on to hone his skills in the secondary school by paying keen attention to the visual art world through avid reading and researching through online articles on art topics to fire his inspirations.
While in the university, Adubi complemented his studies by sustaining the passion for his evolving talent with research in African art and great artists, during which he observed works of the masters and tried to experiment whatever he had gathered to be techniques of painting while performing latest tricks he had learned from art books.
His beautiful wife, Grace Okiemute Makinde, has also played subject to many of his sketches and portrait stylisation in the university.
He recalled, “Interestingly, it was art that brought us together in the first place when my wife’s brother collected an art piece from me in 2004, and she enquired to meet the ‘artist undergraduate’.”
A member of the Society of Nigerian Artists (S.N.A), Adubi’s first solo exhibition, “Once Upon a Nigerian Christmas,” was held in 2013, an Exhibition of Paintings hosted by Osh African Gallery, Morning Side Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Since then, he has held many solo exhibitions, including but not limited to a Salon Exhibition of Paintings hosted by Chloe Olumide in November 2017 at The Luxury Collection, Sanusi Fafunwa Street, Victoria Highland, Lagos; “True Colours,” a Salon Exhibition of Paintings hosted by The Metropolitan Club, in 2017 at The Metropolitan Club, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
His most recent group exhibitions were last year. They include a group exhibition of paintings, drawings and sculpture hosted by Gallery Forty-four at Gallery 44, Anike Court, 15, Victoria Island Lagos State; “Oreze IV” (The King’s Crowd), a group exhibition of paintings, sculptures and ceramics in honour of His Royal Majesty, Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha.
Adubi has nurtured himself as a professional artist, whose work has had realisation in oils, acrylic, charcoal and other media with preference for realism and abstract figurative composition.
To Adubi, painting is like carving images on the surface of the canvas, which explains his basic method of rendition is soft impasto technique with palette knives on texturised canvas.
No doubt, this is an effective approach to bringing his artworks close to aboriginal African artefacts inherent with indigenous flavours. His artwork has continued to emerge with evident energy and enthusiasm as he tries to stay away from the popular routines and methods, because his joy comes from the challenge of creating something entirely new.
Thematically, Adubi works along two broad representational styles: a calm academic realism and a more expressive abstract composition that are inspired by contemporary life. His style of colourful rendition changes in relation to the theme he chooses to explore. He loves to create new works in the hope of inspiring others.
He told First News, “These works often addresses narratives bordering ignorable intricacies of life, philosophy of mind, religious excesses, love and contemporary lifestyle, social cultural interactions, and documentations, etcetera.”
He brings an original peculiar sense of symbolism and spectacle to the ethereal portraits he mindfully conjures up.
Adubi’s work aims to poke everyone in the eye with equal potency, no matter what his or her perspective of life might be. As one examines the semi-abstract pictures closely, somewhere in your memories are those images that symbolise faces and masks of deities in age-long afro-centric sculptures.
The artist is currently preparing for another solo exhibition entitled, “Tue Colours III,’ which will take place at Thought Pyramid Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos, December 2020, hoping that the COVID-19 pandemic would have fully subsided by then.
The forthcoming exhibition stands to explore Adubi’s observation of society perspectives on major events such as COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matters narratives currently redefining our reality.
Some of these works also give a voice to gender equality, as Adubi is already known for projecting the female gender in a non-subservient representation from his early days of painting.