Aina Onabolu and Naturalism in Nigerian Visual Arts
This paper focuses on Aina Onabolu’s creative exploits in the Nigerian Art Scene. There is the contention as to whether his techniques of artistic expression promoted or marred the realization of true Nigerian art. The writer seeks to examine the work of the artist and his techniques, the evolutionary stages of this naturalistic tendency, contemporary creative currents and possible contributions to visual art practice in Nigeria. Through intensive search of the literature on the artist and his contemporaries and students, one observed that his astute commitment to his work culminated in the integration of Art into the school curriculum as a subject to be recon with. Onabolu was part of an African current of modernization for which came the advocates of African nationalism and progress. He used his art as a critical tool to confront and challenge the racist rhetoric of colonialists, thereby laying a more solid foundation for art training in Nigeria. With Onabolu’s insistence on the representation of forms based on certain
fundamental principles of Art and Design, the intellectual content of art is brought to bear on the populace. Naturalism continues to be explored by a large spectrum of contemporary Nigerian artists as a model of creative expression.
Keywords: Naturalistic tendency, objective, representational, modernistic, imitative, Nationalist
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