Exhibition: Aso Oke- The Woven Beauty by Tunde Owolabi
*AsoOke – The Woven Beauty* is an exhibition aimed at depicting the cultural value, significance and beauty of Aso-Oke, a fabric that originates from the Yoruba culture of Nigeria. It is the fabric without which kings cannot be crowned and a bride’s look is lacking. As the saying goes, without aso-oke, the occasion is incomplete – when you go to a Nigerian wedding or party, be it in Lagos, London or Atlanta, the possibility of seeing aso-oke on display is 99.99 percent guaranteed.
A tapestry of history and cultural heritage weaved together in Paintings, Photography, Sound and Film Installations, Photo-painting (combination of photography & painting), and Mixed media, Tunde has created a melting pot of cultural narratives with his use of multi-dimensional storytelling after months of working with local artisans to put a focus on a tradition that must not and refuses to die.
Borne out of a need to showcase the art of creative artisanship and the splendour of beauty that is the finished product, Owolabi said: “The reason I chose aso-oke is because of its cultural value and vibrancy. While learning about it, I realized 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.”
As one of the few surviving forms of textile design left in Nigeria, the existence of aso-oke is increasingly being threatened by the likes of Chinathat that can mass produce traditional African fabrics but end up with low quality product. But for those who know what quality aso-oke should be, they still opt for the choice of going through the local weavers who own and embrace the art. It is to this end that Tunde says his vision is to demonstrate that when the old world meets the new world, magic is possible.
An exhibition of cultural affirmation which confirms that culture indeed remains one of the fundamental factors that connects and underpins the social, cultural, and economic structures in society. At a time when it is increasingly important to tell the world who you are through your heritage, *AsoOke – The Woven Beauty* expresses elegantly the beauty and opulence of a people’s culture and history and reiterates that aso-oke stands out in a multitude of fabrics.
Venue: Red Door Contemporary Art Gallery 51b, Bishop Oluwole Street | Victoria Island | Lagos | Tel: +234 (0)8058940874 *Private and Press Preview:* 15th Nov, 2014. Opening Times from 10am daily and open to the general public *Admission:* Free