The Urhobo Voice
A Newspaper Covering Events in Urhoboland and Offering Diverse Perspectives on Urhobo History and Culture
MAY 8, 2006
By Charles Oviri
Rev. John Noserime Thomas
THE ongoing posthumous art exhibition for Rev. John Noserime Thomas is one platform that is indeed showcasing the works of the educationist, administrator, and God’s servant. From April 21, 2006 when the exhibition started at the Yusuf Arillo Gallery, Art Complex, Yaba College of Technology, art lovers have been pouring in to see distinctive art works that had been lying low in the archives. For some, it has been an adventure with many options to explore.
titled: The Early Zaria Manifest,
is a summary
of the works of Rev. John Noserime Thomas,
pioneering graduate of the
His1960 independence poster design is a mix of bright and bold colours, yet it is simple, while its lettering is easy to read. There are two works on display that show his deep understanding of textile design. The Fertile Soil is a surface fabric design with a light brown background, symbolic of the fertile soil. Uneven tiny circles, fairly large horizontal/vertical geometric shapes in black and white colours are juxtaposed, and some in simple overlapping formation.
There is squitting effect of white geometric shapes, balanced by black rectangles, and the overall compositional format exudes and impacts in us a flowing or kinetic illusion of celestial forces in the cosmos.
His linear expression
are reminders of the charming old savannah days in Samaru,
One can notice the
good electricity in his application, and always enjoy capturing the
mood of his
models. A good example is his figure drawing I and II of a white
model (1961/1962) done in
His commercial arts
called graphic design are of two folds, his linoleun
prints and book illustrations. A good example of
prints are: Gourd and Mofifs, 1960;
1962; Fulani Milk Maid; The Agile Crocodile, 1988. The best of
prints is probably his lino-cut
illustration for a
book entitled: The Wusasa Mission 1961.
book narrates vividly the origin and work in the Northern part of
The church building
of St. Barthobmew which stands near
In The British
Flora (1961-1962), the book portrays the pine-gross break, a very
Two examples of his
illustrations in pen and ink are NBC Schools Programmes,
There are two
examples of his
attempt at expressing his inner premonitions via painting. Two of those
the permanent collection of one of
Urhobo Stilt Dancers, 1958 and Flora Feelings (Hibiscus flower),1965 are also on display. The works are rendered in gourche, exuding recessive (subdues) colours.
Divine Revelation, 1960, is a simple inter-penetration of geometric shapes (rectangular forms) rendered in grayish-black tones, with a polyphonic centre of luminous energy. The work is a symbolic depiction of the complex, confused and problematic situation man finds himself.
Alphabets, 1961, is a basic design composition with intricate juxtaposition of the alphabets. It has a grayish background and a colour “modulation” of black, viridian green, orange cadmium yellow, cobalt blue and a generous outlet of brown.
Rev John Noserime
Thomas was involved in several exhibitions, including joint art
1992 at Goldsmith College of Arts,
Others were: art
in 1976 with Kwara State Art Council; art
Speaking at the
“We now see this exhibition as an avenue to showcase some of the works that are older than us, to see and be able to compare to know whether we are in the right path, and also have opportunity to see what Papa has done, because we have to go into the archives to get some of his works out, and I think it is going to be a big honour to all the first graduates of Zaria school,” he added.
The exhibition, which kicked of on April 21, 2004 is expected to end on May 8, 2006.