By Ike Osakwe. Foreword to the Catalogue of the Exhibition, Oju. Terra Kulture, Lagos, May 2013
I first encountered the works of Gbenga Orimoloye 22 years ago, at the 1991 Tower Aluminium art exhibition, in the Indian High Commission in Lagos. I liked his work immediately. Here was a young artist recently out of college, painting with a very definitive and mature style. Clearly confident and with a very direct approach to using a palette knife with oil on canvas, he managed to capture so much with the few yet generous strokes that he applied. The energy, the movement, and the flavour of the moment were not lost in his subjects; and yet the faces remained shadows – each part of a story that seemed never to be fully told.
The painting that I picked to buy at that exhibition was not to be mine as it was adjudged the winning
painting and was retained by the sponsors. When Gbenga called to offer me the option of purchasing another painting, we struck up a friendship. Off and on, I have been in touch with him all the years since then. His style has remained powerful, consistent and communicative. His passion is even more evident, as are his abilities. It has been interesting watching an already mature young artist, mature even further.
At his exhibition in Lagos last year I challenged him to explore further – with perhaps differing colours,
messages, or styles. And he has come back this year seemingly stronger, with a greater variety. This collection is particularly intriguing for its diversity in use of colour and subject matter. I congratulate Gbenga and urge him to continue the journey – to explore and feel the full breadth of his repertoire. I sense that his best is not yet over. Indeed it may still be yet to come….