The Pathways of Light
After an accidental discharge of light was captured in a dark studio space, Kehinde Sanwo, the painter, found a new medium of expression, a passage between photography and art, now about to exhibit.
An exhibition of Light Painting Photography. A body ofwork created by photographing led lights in a dark studio. Kehinde Sanwo a painter is known for his documentation of Nigerian Historical Landmarks.This is a new concept in relation to what I have been known for. Looking at the works you can see vibrant colours, patterns, lines and movement all intertwined to form a lovely tapestry of light .
Q: You are currently engaged with a new innovative technique involving light which is also now slated for an exhibition. How did you get into this?
A: It’s quite new but I’ve read about people who have done such. I got into this by divine inspiration because it is a different concept from what I’ve been used to. It is a play on light in relation to graphics. Capturing light in a dark studio with amazing results.
Q: We all know that there should be no light in a dark studio. So how were you able to sneak light into a dark studio space?
A: I was photographing my son. He had a lead light toy fixed to one of his ears and I decided to play with that light, but the minute I was about taking the picture, there was a power cut. The picture I had taken in that instant was amazing so I thought if I took pictures using light from that device it would be interesting. I went out and got toys and devices that had little or soft light – red, green, yellow, blue and white – and I had my assistant shake and move the device to create an interplay of the lights while I took the pictures.
Q: I imagine that the lights quite aside from creating visual patterns, they would also have patterns of meaning.
A: When I got into this, at the spur of the moment, I realized that this was something that would speak directly to me since I didn’t go all out looking for it. A month after that first experience, I was able to record about 100 different images. When I look back at them, I wonder how I got there. I also came to realize that I had these for a purpose and that purpose I intend to find out as I continue to explore the technique. I decided to put this series into an exhibition to communicate my recognition of the fact that Jesus is the true light who has lighted our paths. Just as some people have testified that He manifested himself in their dreams in the form of a glowing bright light. Moreover, it dawned on me that when God was trying to get the attention of Moses, He came up with a sign and that sign was a burning bush. So with this exhibition of lights, I’m also trying to grab someone’s attention.
Q: It seems you are now veering into digital art. What further direction do you think this might lead you?
A: I have not really given thought to that yet but if it is going to be an additional media for communication, it is a welcome development. I read of how Pablo Picasso drew with lights in association with a professional photographer. The moment he saw the guy’s work, he took hold of a light pen and did some drawings in light. I do not think that I would be abandoning what I was known for, at least not deliberately.
Q: Have you had the opportunity to sell some of the works as framed pieces and what response have you gotten so far?
A: Those were some of the questions I had to ponder upon when I started on this road. I showed it to a collector of mine and she really loved it and began asking how much it went for and I sold one on the spot. So that gave me a sort of assurance that this concept definitely would fly.
As I begun looking at Kehinde Sanwos work . Everything fell into a beautiful silence for me. I could see it: the core of me and my journey here all wrapped up in carefully crafted patterns….in Him. This is what God intends for true art to do, to bring us to the place of truth. God is light, we walk and live in the Light …As He is so are we in the world…. We are the light of the world….As He is.
Our patterns woven only in Devine intelligence :the speed, then stillness and back into soft slow movements.The awesome glow and then ,our contrast to this dark world. A tapestry of light. Awesome body of work . There’s almost a sound to it.
Leke Alder’s forward on Exhibition
If God is light and man was made in the image of God, how can a biological solidity be the image of the incandescent, unless there’s an immanence? Even more puzzling, how can light have an image? The very presence of light obliterates shadows.
Clearly, there’s a lot about light we know nothing about. Even Physics tells us light is a confusing duality. It manifests as both particles and waves. And it seems to have psychic powers, able to read our intentions, and manifesting according to our intentions. If you seek to measure its particulate properties, it manifests as particles. If you seek to measure its wavelength, it manifests as waves. Nobody understands light – not the scientists, not the theologians. And now an artist seeks to explain light to us!
What Kehinde Sanwo has done is to combine art, science and theology. He captures his imagery of light in an artistic format using a scientific equipment. And he seeks to delve into the great theological debate on light. And so we see light as art, light as science and light as philosophy. In essence, Kehinde Sanwo has layered complexity on top of complexity. But at least we see the image of light. It might not be what God spoke about in Genesis but it’s something!
Perhaps Kehinde Sanwo has captured what is inside of us – and by that I mean what is encased in our bodies. But then that raises the question of who is “us”? If only Kehinde Sanwo would leave us alone basking in the darkness of our ignorance. We do not really know what Kehinde has captured on his canvasses. But one thing is certain, they are beautiful objects to behold. And that should be enough for all of us – theologians, scientists, artists and armchair philosophers.
Kehinde Sanwo Profile
Who believes that the Artist vocation is to send light into the human heart was born 17th September, 1963, in Lagos and trained as an Artist at Yaba College of Technology Lagos where, after bagging an HND in painting, he taught for one year. His didactic interests took him to Corona School, Apapa, Lagos where he was Art Teacher between 1990 and 1993. He resigned from teaching post to begin running a private painting studio. Few years after that he was able to carve a niche for himself in the area of documenting the Lagos Architectural landmarks. Kehinde’s paintings are in the permanent collections of Nigeria modern Art Gallery, also in private and corporate collections in Nigeria, Brazil, London and U.S.A.
He is a member of Society of Nigeria Artists (SNA) and the Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (GFA).
He is married with Children.
2014 Light Artmosphere (Photography Exhibition)
Terra Kulture, Lagos.
2007 Nigerian Landmarks, Terra Kulture, Lagos
2002 Moment in time, Didi Museum, Lagos
1997 In the past, Earth works Gallery, Lagos
1996 Legacy, Brazillian Embassy, Lagos
Selected Group Exhibition.
2013 Transcending Boundaries ‘The Gallery in Cork Street’ London.
2013 13th Annual Pastel Exhibition, Mydrim Gallery, Lagos
2012 ‘Imbued Essence’ (B.O.I London Olympic Exhibition)
2010 The Crux of the matter, Terra Kulture, Lagos
2008 Threshold, Terrakulture, Lagos
2006 Times and feelings, Pastel Exibition Mydrim, Lagos.