Welcome to Africa on the Floor

Tola Wewe

Described as one of the most talented minds from the African continent, Tola Wewe’s works are widely acclaimed for their originality, simplicity, surface texture and mastery of colours. After graduating from the Universities of Ife and Ibadan, he became a founding member of the Ona movement. His style draws from the Ona symbols of the Yoruba culture and his themes project traditional lores and myths of his native culture. Beyond Nigeria, Tola Wewe’s works has been exhibited across the world including Coningsby Gallery, London, Espace Alberica Gallery, Paris to mention a few.

Biography

Tola Wewe, born in Okitipupa, Ondo State, Nigeria in 1959, trained and graduated
with a degree in Fine Art from University of Ife in 1983. He then went on to obtain a Masters degree in African Visual Arts from University of Ibadan, Oyo State in 1986. Tola Wewe worked as a cartoonist before becoming a full time studio artist in 1991.

At the beginning of his career, three major influences characterised Tola Wewe�s works; the first was his basic academic training at Ife, the second his masters research programme in the Ijaw water spirit mask and thirdly the society particularly the Yoruba society. His style draws from the Ona symbols of the Yoruba and his themes project traditional lores and myths of his native Yoruba culture. Wewe describes himself more as a witness than an author, “communicating with the spirits of the ancestors, and drawing out the invisible spirits – the anjonnu, emere and the ebora – who make the art works�I am the vehicle, and they are the drivers. We go on these strange journeys to the most remote ends of imaginative experience.”

His work, defiant of classification, ‘silently grows on viewers, blending with their moods, simultaneously taking their minds to strange and familiar colourful places full of false nostalgia. Often the attraction is mutual and instant: for those who can consume the spectacular banquet of colours, Wewe cooks up spicy visual rhythms,sometimes playful, sometimes serious, sometimes dense, sometimes scattered, carefully orchestrated, although seemingly extravagant.’ (Moyo Okediji, University of Colorado).

Tola Wewe is a founding member of the Ona movement which emerged in February 1989. The movement is a group of scholars, critics and practicing artists committed to pursuing artistic excellence through the adaptation and interpretation of traditional materials & methods, forms & styles of contemporary Yoruba art and design.

Tola Wewe, whose works are widely acclaimed for their originality, simplicity, surface texture and mastery of colours, is considered one of the most talented minds from the African continent. His work is a hybrid of African and western sensibilities and images, reflecting his own training and experience as an international artist. Beyond Nigeria, Tola Wewe’s work has been exhibited across Europe and the US. As a full time artist, he lives and works in Ondo State, Nigeria.

Some of his recent exhibitions and workshops include:

  • Solo exhibition, Galerie des Beaux Art, Heeze, Holland
  • “Recent Paintings by Tola Wewe”, Solo Exhibition, Coningsby Gallery, London, UK
    Sept. – Oct. 2005
  • Artist in Residence, Platteforum Art Centre, Denver, Colorado, USA July 2004
  • “Nigeria: 48 hours with the Children of the Turtle”, Group Exhibition, Espace Alberica Gallery, Paris, France May 2004
  • Die kraft der Farte, Exhibition, Germany 2002

 

CV

Full Name: TOLA WEWE
Date of Birth:19th November, 1959
Place of birth: Shabomi-Okitipupa, Ondo State, Nigeria
Nationality: Nigerian
Marital Status: Married with children

 


EDUCATION

B.A Hons Fine Arts, Specialising in Painting, University of Ife  1983

M.A African Visual Arts, University of Ibadan, Nigeria  1986

 


SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

Tola Wewe started exhibiting his painting regularly since 1989. Here are some of his recent exhibitions

2006
Galerie des Beaux Arts, Heeze, Holland,
modernafricanart exhibition at BTJ, Lund, Sweden
Galerie Im Schlossgarten, Gauangelloch, Germany
modernafricanart exhibition at M�klarhuset Hellborg & Partners, Lund, Sweden

2005
Coningsby Gallery, London
Neo Art Gallery, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A

2005
Nimbus Art Centre, Lagos, Nigeria

2004
Platteforum, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A
Galerie Im Schlossgarten, Gauangelloch, Germany
Espace Alberica, Paris, France
Nimbus Art Centre, Lagos, Nigeria
12th Pan African Film/Art Festival, Los Angeles, California, USA
Nicon Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria

2003
Kunst Forum Das Carre, Heidelberg, Germany
Galerie Im Schlossgarten, Gauangelloch, Germany
Elf Village, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria

2002 
Galerie Im Schlossgarten, Gauangelloch, Germany

2001
Lola Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
Parish Gallery, Georgetown, Washington DC, U.S.A

2000
Lola Gallery, Lagos, Nigeria
Centre Culturel Francais, Cotonou, Rep of Benin

 


OUTSTANDING AWARDS

June 2005
“Outstanding Alumnus Award” by the Dept. of Fine Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile Ife, Nigeria

Nov. 2004
“Overall Winner” a certificate of merit awarded by GUINNESS Nigeria Plc to Tola Wewe, in a competitive exhibition titled �Working with communities to make life better�

March 2004
“Artist Honoree”, an award presented by the County of Los Angeles, California, U.S.A

Aug. 2003
“Merit For Creativity”, An award presented by the Culture and Creative Art Forum [CCAF],in recognition of outstanding contribution to creativity

 


ART COLLECTIONS

Many of Tola Wewe�s paintings are in public and private collections in different parts of the world. Two paintings were recently collected by the Denver Art Museum, U.S.A