Ade Adesina: Aurora at The Academicians’ Gallery

The Royal Scottish Academy introduces Adesina’s exhibition “Aurora” as follows: “Focusing on the effects of climate change, deforestation and energy consumption, Adesina’s ecological-minded, monumental linocuts, woodcuts and etchings approach the limits to which the medium of printmaking can be pushed.”

Adesina himself outlines his work as a commentary on the changing world, and this is clearly evident throughout the exhibition. Change is central to Adesina’s art, but this phenomenon can be taken both positively and negatively. Change in Adesina’s fantastical imagery can be understood as an enrichment and development beyond the usual.

Nevertheless, the content of his art at times points to another understanding of change: various elements like the baobab tree, also known as the source of life, often serve as a central point in his artwork, working as a symbolic interpretation of the destruction of our fruitful Nature. The different significations of change in his work may be understood as simply a reference to Adesina’s understanding that any act and its inevitable consequences form a part of the circle of life in its holistic sense.

Adesina’s works also explore the concept of time, with the recurring motif of bridges undoubtedly representing a connection between present-day and the future. Indeed, his traditional method of printmaking influenced by modern elements forms a metaphysical bridge between the two temporal spheres and manifests the very transformation that the artist wants to express. Meanwhile, the fantasy creatures like flying whales could be taken from marvellous dreams, though the continuous virtue of devastation holds viewers back by reality, contributing to the Adesina’s exploration of dichotomy.

In a world in which climate strikes, forest fires, and climate policy are ever more present in the consciousness of the people, it almost seems natural to wish to discover a little bit of hope in the chaos.

If I had to describe the exhibition with one word, “mirror” would serve as a suitable definition. A mirror in which you can see the unique beauty of nature and the astonishing achievements of modern humankind. However, one that also reminds you of the fact that everything you do has consequences, ones that to an extent not even the fanciful thoughts of an artist can completely materialise.

From my point of view, this exhibition should not be seen as a gloomy prediction of a future world, but should be taken as a hint of the impact of our actions on future generations.

Image: Linda Schlachter

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