By Nehru Odeh
Professor Peju Layiwola, an artwork historian in the Department of Creative Art, University of Lagos loves and lives artwork. Not solely does she have a distinguished educational profession as an artist and trainer of artwork and artwork historical past, she has succeeded in taking artwork not simply into the avenue but additionally in elevating our native materials and textiles, particularly adire to an artwork kind acknowledged domestically and internationally.
In 2019, as half of the many workshops, exhibitions and trainings she has completed, She organized a groundbreaking exhibition at two venues in Lagos to showcase the incredible work she had completed and continues to do with adire.
That exhibition and the implausible works she has completed with adire impressed a ebook entitled Peju Layiwola’s Indigo Reimagined: Rethinking Adire in Yoruba Fashion and Textile Modernity, which was edited by Patrick Oloko. That ebook was introduced to the public at Ashluxury in Lekki, Lagos not too long ago.
Distinguushed visitors at the ebook presentation included: Prof. Ayodele Atsenuwa, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos;.Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya; Professor Ebun Clark;. Professor Dele Layiwola; Omooba Yemisi Shyllon; Prof. Patrick Oloko and Ms Lara Ige.
But why much ado about adire, a cloth many erroneously look down upon? Layiwola, who learnt artwork from her mom who was always taking her to workshops in Benin City, and has succeeded in making adire purchase a deep historic and cultural significance believes adire is greater than a mere material, and that it encompasses the totality of the individuals existence with deep cultural meanings.
Cloth is like a second pores and skin. And I feel that as a result of of the very presence of material in our lives, it’s gained loads of foreign money. And it additionally one thing to rejoice. Fabric has always performed a significant function, and has additionally been integrated into proverbs, idioms and all of that, in the significance of communal life, which is additionally expressed in the processes of the artwork itself. Because individuals discuss Eniyan ni aso mi, which, translated into English means: ‘People are my masking, individuals are my material,’” She stated in an interview with TheNEWS and PMNEWS.
Still, many are enamoured by the incredible work Layiwola is doing not simply with adire but in bridging the hole between city and robe as nicely as idea and apply and in making the world recognise the ‘art’ in what is typically identified as arts and crafts.
Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya, an internationally famend artist, sculptor and printmaker and the mind behind the Agbarha-Otor Harmattan Workshop, praised Layiwola for the nice works she is doing in each the formal and non- formal schooling sector.
“Peju Layiwola is important in the formal education sector and the informal education sector. She helped to start the Agbarha- Otor Harmattan Worshop, which is now also providing professors and doctorate degree holders and people who are contributing to the formal education sector, space,” Onobrakpeya stated.
Omooba Yemisi Shyllon, who stated he owes Layiwola loads, was full of reward for each her and her husband, Prof. Dele Layiwola for their contributions to mental growth and the growth of tradition.
“I owe her a duty. That’s why I am here. I owe her a lot. Because both husband and wife have contributed so much to intellectual development around our culture. You cannot forget the name of Dele Layiwola or Peju Laywola when you write about the contributions of scholars to the development of our culture. I represent culture in every way. And I believe very much we all owe a duty to our people. We are leaders in our own way. A lot of people look up to us. We have to provide the Pegars for people to see that there is a lot we can do, which we are not doing,” Shyllon stated.
Prof. Ebun Clark believes what Layiwola is doing with adire is Incredible, particularly for taking it a notch increased and shifting it to one other path.
“I feel it is incredible. And due to this fact I was so blissful to see a reimagination of what has always been there. Because no tradition can develop if you get caught in what was. You should go from what was to what is and what may be.
“This is why I feel this is so necessary, what she is doing now. She is shifting adire designs She is shifting the supplies you use for adire She is shifting all this stuff ahead as an artist. She is each an artist and a craftsman. And whereas in the old days – I don’t agree with it – these who dealt in adire had been identified as arts and crafts individuals. Just craft, no artwork. But they did loads of artwork.
“Now she is utilizing her personal data, her personal coaching to transfer adire into one other path, whereas not destroying the old. I have incredible wall scuptures of hers which had been extracted from adire designs. It’s a pity it’s a non-public assortment not many individuals can see. But if you can see it, you would say this is the thoughts of a grasp in her craft.
“I grew up with my grandmother carrying adire. So in all probability if her sdire is nonetheless round, it is a couple of hundred years old or extra. Now she (Layiwola) is taking that hundred years old or extra and bringing it to your current context. So that they can now put on it and additionally not lose the old design.
“So you have the art with the craft being mixed now into the present day, pushing it to the future. That’s the role of the artist. The historians would tell you all about adire, the artist would tell you about the possibilities of anything that they hold on to, of the soul of the nation,” Clark maintained.
Prof. Dele Layiwola, whom his spouse, the artist, had earlier praised for the assist he had always given her, counseled her not solely for her originality and hardwork but additionally for all what she has completed, and continues to do, to enhance the trend business.
“She is very unique in her strategy to artwork. And she is very expert and proficient. And I do respect it. I feel some artists are born, some be taught by apprenticeship. But she does each. She has innate expertise. And she has initiative. And she makes use of this expertise to the greatest of her potential. And she is in a position to produce works that are unique, that individuals are blissful to have.
Prof. Dele is additionally of the view that what Layiwola is doing with native materials and textiles is superior to imported supplies as a result of they are unique and look actual. According to him, producers of materials overseas mass-produced their supplies and make use of artificial dyes and yarns as nicely as threads that are inferior.
“She is bettering on the trend business, particularly on the creativity and the manufacturing of unique work. Hand-made materials and hand -made work, hand designed works are extra labour-intensive. They are additionally dearer. But they are unique and they look actual, moderately than the mass produced issues that some of the industrialized international locations do.
“So that’s why I appreciate that these works are original and they contribute to our own development, rather than looking for money we do not have to give to other people who come from elsewhere,” Prof. Dele defined.
Lara Ige, on her half stated Layiwola is somebody she respects so much for her onerous work and for selling Nigerian cultural heritage.
“I got here to assist her as a result of Professor Peju Layiwola is somebody I respect so much. She is very hardworking. She is very energetic as nicely. And like Professor Onobrakpeya stated she is in each the formal and casual schooling sector. So she is somebody I like to be with and additionally do issues collectively.
“Adire is a clothing line we should promote for our culture. And she is doing a lot in that line. She is not only an educator, ahe is also promoting the culture and heritage of Nigeria,” Ige stated.
Olatoye Okunuga additionally believes Layiwola has taken adire additional from the native to the mental and international house and additionally made it a foreign money that has worldwide acceptance.
“She has taken adire as a cultural milieu. She has taken adire additional. She has carved adire in a extra educational toga than what it used to be. She has taken adire past the cultural worth to the mental house the place she has been in a position to put down points bordering on adire.
“She has innate talent. She has initiative. And she uses this talent to the best of her ability. She is able to produce works that are original, that people are happy to have,” Okunuga averred.