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'Aso Oke: The Woven Beauty,' Tunde Owolabi's New Exhibition In Lagos

Tunde Owolabi's 'Aso Oke - The Woven Beauty' is on display November 16th- 22nd at the Red Door Contemporary Art Gallery in Lagos.


If cotton is for comfort and viscose for drape, then Nigerian Aso Oke [ah-SHAW-okay] is for shakara. Originating from the Yoruba culture, Aso Oke is a handwoven textile that holds both cultural value and beauty. Traditionally worn for special occasions such as weddings or naming ceremonies, Aso Oke is a marker of Yoruba heritage that transcends Nigeria. From Monday, November 16th-22nd, at the Red Door Gallery in Lagos, Nigerian visual artist Tunde Owolabi will be showcasing the fabric at his second solo exhibition, Aso Oke - The Woven Beauty. Using Aso Oke as a tapestry of history and cultural heritage, Owolabi has created narratives through paintings, photography, sound and film installations, photo-painting, and mixed media to preserve one of the few surviving forms of textile designs left in Nigeria. Explains Owolabi:

“The reason I chose aso-oke is because of its cultural value and vibrancy. While learning about it, I realised there is more to the fabric. The dynamism with which it has evolved over time from the traditional type to the more modern aso-oke we see lately also got me interested. The process of making it alone is an art that leaves no gender out of the fun and experience. These days, weddings and other occasions are incomplete without aso-oke, and that shows the power and importance of this fabric. It was created by the Yoruba people of Nigeria for the world. I want to make people appreciate this fabric more, and see how much of an art it is. If we don’t celebrate what we have, no one will.”

Tunde Owolabi's Aso Oke - The Woven Beauty is on display Monday, November 16th through November 22nd at the Red Door Gallery in Lagos. Admission is free. See more photos from the exhibition below.

All photos credited to Tunde Owolabi

Interview

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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