The 2019 Absa L’Atelier Ambassador, Raji Bamidele, from Nigeria is taking art enthusiasts on an immersive journey into the profound depths of human existence with his latest solo exhibition at the Absa Gallery, “The Melodious Struggle of Souls and Consciousness”. Through a captivating array of artworks, Bamidele’s exhibition delves into the intricate interplay between the human soul, consciousness, and spirit, offering a thought-provoking exploration of life’s complexities.
Through this exhibition Bamidele draws inspiration from the Yoruba people and their belief system. The Yoruba people, which are a West African ethnic group who mainly inhabit parts of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo, believe that the soul, consciousness, and spirit are intricately interconnected facets of the human experience. Bamidele’s artwork encapsulates the concept that the soul embodies the mind, which reflects 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 is a self-taught multifaceted artist born in Nigeria. Despite his passion for art, he felt that he had keep his talent a secret throughout his primary school years as art was viewed as a more light-hearted pursuit compared to the other subjects in his school. He later went on to attend 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 significant 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 won 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 as 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 come explore the rhythmic dance of these concepts, offering a unique perspective on how consciousness serves as a conduit for self-realisation. Each piece of art showcases the ethereal harmony between the human form and its mirrored reflection of the spirit, unveiling a vast realm of consciousness.
“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 harmonise with our own rhythm within the broader composition of existence,” expresses Bamidele.
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, whose works have been showcased in various exhibitions both locally and internationally. The Melodious Struggle of Souls and Consciousness is a true testament to Bamidele’s dedication to bridging cultural wisdom with modern artistic expression.
The exhibition will open in the Absa Gallery to the public on Friday, 25 August 2023 and run until 19 October 2023. The Absa Gallery is open weekdays from 08:30 to 16:00 and those that wish to view the exhibition are reminded to bring along identification.