Exploring the Interplay of Soul, Consciousness, and Spirit Through Art
Raji Bamidele, the 2019 Absa L’Atelier Ambassador from Nigeria, is currently captivating art enthusiasts with his latest solo exhibition, “The Melodious Struggle of Souls and Consciousness,” which opened on 25 August 2023 at the Absa Gallery. This exhibition takes viewers on an immersive journey into the profound depths of human existence, exploring the intricate interplay between the human soul, consciousness, and spirit, offering a thought-provoking exploration of life’s complexities.
Bamidele draws inspiration from the Yoruba people and their belief system. The Yoruba, a West African ethnic group inhabiting parts of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo, believe that the soul, consciousness, and spirit are interconnected facets of the human experience. Bamidele’s artwork embodies the concept that the soul encompasses the mind, which mirrors the heart, and the heart extends the soul and spirit. This interconnectedness forms the basis for a deeper understanding of oneself and the world.
Raji Bamidele, a self-taught multifaceted artist born in Nigeria, faced challenges in expressing his passion for art during his primary school years when art was considered less serious compared to other subjects. However, he persevered and attended secondary school in Lagos, Nigeria, the cultural and artistic hub of the country. It took significant effort to convince his family to accept his chosen path and passion for art as he spent a considerable amount of time honing his skills in his Lagos-based studio.
Bamidele’s multi-disciplinary approach has earned him numerous accolades, including the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos Prize at the 2015 Life in My City Art Festival (LIMCAF), where he won the overall best (Lagos Entry). He also received the Best Use of Multimedia Award at the 2017 LIMCAF and the French Embassy Young Talents Award (Y.T.A), Prix de la Jeune Creation de L’Ambassade de France, as part of the LIMCAF 2017. In 2019, he was crowned one of the Ambassadors of the 34th Absa L’Atelier, held during The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Cape Town.
“The Melodious Struggle of Souls and Consciousness” exhibition invites art enthusiasts to explore the rhythmic dance of these concepts, offering a unique perspective on how consciousness serves as a conduit for self-realization. Each piece of art displays the ethereal harmony between the human form and its mirrored reflection of the spirit, unveiling a vast realm of consciousness.
Expressing his gratitude, Bamidele said, “I am profoundly grateful to Absa L’Atelier for amplifying the melody of my artistic journey. Just as we each contribute unique notes to life’s grand symphony, this exhibition invites us to harmonize with our own rhythm within the broader composition of existence.”
Through this exhibition, art enthusiasts will witness an indelible mark on the artistic landscape. Dr. Paul Bayliss, Senior Specialist Art, and Museum Curator at Absa, stated, “Raji’s exploration of the intricate relationship between souls and consciousness aligns perfectly with the vision of Absa L’Atelier, which aims to support and promote emerging African artists who push boundaries and challenge perceptions. We are proud to be a part of this exhibition that fosters such thought-provoking artistic discourse.”
Raji, as he is fondly called, has established himself as a prominent contemporary Nigerian artist, with his works highlighted in various exhibitions both locally and internationally. “The Melodious Struggle of Souls and Consciousness” is a testament to Bamidele’s dedication to bridging cultural wisdom with modern artistic expression.
The exhibition is open to the public in the Absa Gallery until 19 October 2023. The Absa Gallery is open weekdays from 08:30 to 16:00, and those wishing to view the exhibition are reminded to bring identification.
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