THE MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARTIST; A narrative photo essay of Osaru Obaseki
Osaru Obaseki studied business management at the University of Port Harcourt after which she dabbled around corporate work for about 4-5 years before moving to Benin to join the Edo Global Arts Foundation.
As a self-taught artist, Osaru made the decision to leave corporate work and focus fully on her passion for creating art and soon after many interactions with the popular Igun Street and local bronze casters, she began experimenting with bronze casting herself.
The lost wax technique of bronze casting is not traditionally practised by women in Benin and the only other record of a Benin woman practising bronze casting is renowned Princess Elizabeth Olowu daughter of Oba Akenzua II.
The Benin bronze casting technique or lost wax involved the use of sand which Osaru thought was peculiar to the ancient Benin art process. After making a few traditional sculptures she started to experiment with mixing traditional methods with contemporary forms.
Osaru experiments with sand in painting – this, she insists, is another dimension to bronze casting/sculpting. This experiment starts with sourcing specific sand types from either river beds, red Benin earth or black sand moulds harvested in Igun Street.
The next stages include; sieving and pre-mixing with glue and acrylic paint after which she gets to plastering the sand on canvas, sculpt painting and etching to take form.
Osaru’s mixed-media style of mixing sand with paint to create patterns on her art pieces became a way of bridging ancient Benin art and contemporary art – evidently evolving to accommodate modern realities.
Osaru Obaseki’s most recent body of works would be exhibited at Artpedia Gallery in Lagos, featuring under the theme, “A Tale of Shared Experiences”. The works explore unrealistic standards of beauty the society enforces on women and the negative effects it has on them.