GELE: Vintage and Modern

Gele is the headpiece usually worn by women across Africa for day-to-day activities and on special occasions. O. Yemi is using “GELE – Vintage and Modern” as a metaphorical image to spotlight changes in African culture in this modern day.  The art of tying Gele is disappearing like other traditional skills and many modern African young ladies are disadvantaged.

As in his recent painting, looking through the window, O. Yemi placed the Nigerian National Theatre building, one of the noticeable landmarks in Lagos, Nigeria, where Gele is popularly worn at the background of this painting. On the foreground is the picture of the artist’s mother on the left side of the table which is archetypical of the vintage era when ladies took pride in having the skills to tie their own geles literarily and figuratively. It was an era when women took pride in been able to feed their family. On the opposite side is the image of a modern lady made up in O. Yemi usual style of Rose and thorns dressed in modernised Africans’ wear.

Few modern African ladies have learnt the skill of tying their own Gele. In front of this modern Lady on the table is a tablet with a Pinterest fashion page from which some African ladies choose their fashion styles. The blouse of the modern lady in this painting is less than half the size of the blouses worn by African women in the vintage years. The skills of tying Gele as well as other cultural attributes that used to be the pride of African women are disappearing.

This painting is a homage to the artist’s mother and to all the industrious African mothers of the vintage years. They spent quality time with their children while working to support their families. They carried their children on their backs while working on the farms or managing their trading stalls. The artist’s mum carried her child on her back and on her head is the tray of fabrics she sells from door to door to provide for her family.

It is great that modern African ladies could boast of having billions of followers and likes on social media but the only sincere followers and likes that really count are those of the members of their families. Modern African women, be virtuous women. Embrace the modern trends but don’t neglect the rich virtues of African heritage.

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First Diplomat

Written by O. Yemi T.

O. Yemi Tubi - An Artist and Advocate for the world’s Peace.
Olabamiji Yemi Tubi, commonly known as O Yemi Tubi aka MOYAT, a Nigerian born, American trained Artist, currently residing in United Kingdom as an artist with creative and unique personal style. Most of his recent paintings were influenced by political and social upheaval of our world today and the works of the Renaissance artists. He does not like artworks just for decoration but to evoke feelings.
 He uses his works to speak passionately about the issues that touch his heart. Exchange of missiles of words between President Donald Trump of America and Kim Jong Hu of North Korea provoked him to do the painting “The Chickens’ Fight.” He uses my painting “African’t” to speak about the exploitation of African nations. The Painting depicts paradoxical poverty and the riches of Africa. “The Fishers of Men” is about the horror of refugees drowning in Mediterranean Sea.
He desires his portrait paintings to be uniquely creative. He likes to use the portrait paintings to tell the stories about his subjects as he did with the portrait of Professor Wole Soyinka, 1986 Nobel Prize Winner in Literature in painting “SOYINKA: A Literary Icon” in which he used books and flowing letters to create the portrait
 Life is roses and thorns; sometimes it emanates sweet aroma of pleasantness and sometimes it pricks and causes pains. O. Yemi adopts Roses and Thorns to speak about the facts of life in some of my paintings. My paintings, “The Bleeding Roses”, “Domestic Abuse” and Sensuality1: Pain and Pleasure are few of his paintings in my Roses and Thorns series; in which the main objects of the paintings are roses and stems woven into human figures.
In recent years, he has used his paintings to speak about the glooms and dooms of the world around us. In spite of the despondency and challenges part of life, there is a rosy side of life as well. In his painting “The Rosy Seasons of Life” he chose an optimistic look of life to celebrate rosy side of life
O. Yemi works was awarded 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th places in political commentaries in American Art Awards from 2014 to 2017. He was recipient Golden Award with cash award in 2014 Master of Art International exhibition by Margarita Feaks Gallery, UK. He also received First Round Award with cash in Art Olympia 2015 International Open exhibition in Tokyo Japan. He was one of the artists awarded ATIM’S TOP 60 MASTERS OF CONTEMPORARY ART by Art Tour International Magazine in 2017 and 2018 Florence, Italy and New York, USA.
O. Yemi is a member of the Fine Art America, the Society of All Artists, AERA –the Association Embracing Realistic Art Circle Foundation for the arts and WCA- World Citizen Artists.