Anthropology is the study of various aspects of humans within past and present societies. It entails a full study of the norms and values of these societies in its totality. Hence anthropology by definition also takes into cognize, the exploration of the biological, social and indigenous technology, belief systems and cultural aspects of our species in its past, present and future. It’s unique among the academic discipline; because of the attention to the entire human condition and its holistic approach to the study of human life.

                Oghagbon Moses is a visual Anthropologist because of his focused visual researches. He consolidates his visual effort on a particular society; thereby documenting their ways of life in its apparent truthfulness and reality. While visual anthropology is a tentacle of social anthropology, which is concerned, in part with the study and production of ethnographic photography, film and, since the mid 1990’s; the New Media. And of recent other developments and exports have taken a salient advantage of visual anthropology in video, photography, computer-based multimedia, visual arts in exploring the concepts of perception, contextual paradigms and aesthetics.

Historical Background

                Oghagbon Eboigbodin Moses is a full time professional studio artist and tourist photographer. Born in Lagos State, Nigeria. Howbeit an indigene of omolua – igbanke in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria. He acquired his Higher National Diploma (HND) in 2003 from the famous Yaba College of Technology with a high grade in Fine Arts; specializing in painting. He has several solo and joint exhibitions to his credit. He works adorn several private and corporate organizations in Nigerian and abroad. He has many awards to his credits, amongst which is the famous Foundation/Terra culture grant in 2006, which afforded him the opportunity to showcase some of his four project collections. Oghagbon is the faithful founder of Argungu series documentation representation. He is also a salient member of the Society of Nigeria Artists (SNA) and actively involved in visual arts deliberation and scholium. ”There is a link between my photography and art since, I use my art and photography project tagged “Tour Nigeria of 2004”,

                The content of Argungu series; transverses the famous yearly cultured event, Argungu International Fishing to document Nigeria” he said. And inspired by his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) period Festival in Kebbi State of which the town in reminded. Oghagbon brings to the fore the hidden tourism potentials of Argungu, that are not known outside the famous festival. The history of Argungu festival is traced to 1934; “as a good will gesture and celebration of peace between the people of Sokoto State and Argungu, and argued that, it is the largest festival of its type in Nigeria. Argungu was carried out of old Sokoto State when Kebbi State was Oriented in August 1991 with its Capital in Birnin Kebbi, an ancient town dating back to the 14th century. (Sowole, 2003).

A Synoptic Visual Analysis

                A major question that thrills my mind and I know most people will agree with me: Why has he chosen Argungu?. Oghagbon, had his passion for Argungu right from his National Youth Service days. He sees his visual documentation as his candid contribution to the same community and to the country as a whole. Hence, he utilizes his visual canon to dissert, dissemble and re-assemble. One cannot deliberate on a vast Nation such as Nigeria in mere words; hence he has decided to use Argungu as this visual realistic documentation. This is why he is a foremost visual anthropologist following the likes of Dr. kolade Oshinowo, Va. Abiodun Olaku. This visual artist oscillates between the terrestrial and cosmic overt and covert inspirations; howbeit a distinct definition of our essence of existence to the community must be realized and consolidated; by documenting daily; art wise our experiences. Visual anthropology became prominent since the late 19th century, and Nigerian visual artists have since imbibed this branch of study.

                Oghagbon’s main pre-occupation and scope is Argungu. I believe he has exhausted his visual findings and may anytime from now move to another region. He uses mainly oil on canvas, chalk pastel and acrylic to realize his inner premonitions. An overview of his art corpus or conglomeration shows three distinctive categories: Singleor Dual Figure Compositions, Semi-Expressionism and the Clustering, Busting and Hustling of Human Masses.

Form and Contextual Paradigms

                His painting is unique with distinctive colouration, using local colour modulations as against the arbitrary. His figures are realistic or naturalistic, with the velvet kind of visual sensation. He depicts actuality with his human figures; reflecting the day-to-day (genre scenes) pre or post activities of the Argungu festival. He is a master of his brushstrokes.

                One salient thing about brush work is the constant directional modulation the strokes attain. This effect creates what I call visual spontaneity. At a distance, the beholder (consumer of art) sees a photographic and illusionistic impression of smoothness; but at a closer glance one is amazed by the carefully arranged brush work; stimulating kinetic and dynamic reflexes.

                In his clustering, bustling and hustling series: Oghagbon traps sensationally and forcefully the beholder. He utilizes the advantage of illusionism to create a picture that is impossible, yet visually achieved by him. This he learnt from our great master Dr. Kolade Oshinowo. The technic is simple; you hit a dark background canvas and start building up your human masses and the resultant visual effect is the sensation of billions of human masses. Dr Kolade Oshinowo, Ablade Glover are progenitors and dramatis personae in this visual phenomena. I will not say he has surpassed them. But what we are witnessing daily is a consolidated and imbibed process of eclecticism. Oghagbon has ever since shown to be a great artist with faithfulness, perseverance and truthfulness. An artist with a great propensity of dexterity and focus.

                In memories of Argungu, Oghagbon attempts a deviation: A visual experimentation using the horizontal and vertical planes in variegated modulation, living us with a slight impression of stained glass effect. The painting is semi-expressionistic; because we see a natural human face clustered in coloured planes and abstracted figures in the horizon. Equilibrium and dynamic resolution is achieved here. One is compelled to behold the painting and remain focused; to decipher the artist intention. The colours are vibrant, howbeit well-toned. The vibrant red hue is a visual allegory of the bright sunny day of Argungu festival. While the heavily tenebrusic right hand side controls the weight shift.

Stylistic Tendencies

                An overview of all Oghagbon paintings of his Argungu series; from series one to the present series six, reveal mainly twofold: A rendition using the figurative and the illusionistic expressionism. The Human figures and genre scenes remain his main focus in elucidating visually, his covert and overt premonitions. His painting reflecting “Memories of Argungu” that is homebound; reveal his attempt in achieving the fit of Abiodun Olaku; a renowned fourth dimension realist.  A vivid look at the painting reveals his attempt to depict the haze or Hamattan dust in a sunny day. This painting is highly unique because the beholder is forced to feel and experience the visual illusion of the dust. The colour modulation is realistic and possesses an excellent use of design and composition. Style in painting to him, is not a problem. His main preoccupation is his propensity and faithfulness in capturing the various activities of Argungu. Hence he sets his inner man at rest using different visual canons when depicting any scenery.

A Plebiscite

                Henri Matisse, the great fauvist once opined that; “creativity takes courage”. And the famous world renowned Sculptor resident the Britain; Henri Moore, went further to say, “To be an artist is to believe in Life”. Alberto Giacometti summarized all this when he asserted that, “The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity”.

                Oghagbon is a sincere visual artist who has a vision and clarity of purpose. He a visual anthropologist, whose main idée fixe is to document his milieu. This felicity is apparent in his creations. He is an artist who uses the various available visual canons in reflecting the society. He is well focused and has a well-planned docket. This is how a visual artist should function in his environment. Life, creativity, dexterity and the evidence of a well-organized person is witnessed through his works and shows.

I wish you all a splendid exhibition as you view his works. Rukeme Noserime, Ph.D…2017.