The installation, illustrations and paintings are the vehicles that convey the futuristic design concepts of visionary automotive designer and architect Adedapo Akintunde in a solo exhibition at The Art Pantheon space inside Oniru, Lagos. Besides its artistic merit, it is a statement about building infrastructure to advance innovation. Reporting by Yinka Olatunbosun
The first sight was the installation of the car in the premises of Art Pantheon in Oniru. It is a spectacle and a crossroads for arts and architecture, humanity and science as well as for artists and art connoisseurs.
At the recent grand opening of the exhibition “Autovista: African Vehicle Visions: An Exhibition of Car Designs and Concepts”, automotive designer and architect, Adedapo Akintunde, was delighted to talk about what prompted his multiple designs and watercolors of the prototype. of an African car.
Pushing back against the import culture, Akintunde repurposed materials he found in Nigeria to create the monster car installation that was the eye-catcher.
Akintunde describes his style as full of dynamism. “My designs look like things are already in motion,” he said. “This propulsive mindset is what drives Autovista; the movement is forward. Walking through the adjoining showrooms, he recounts how, as a child, he began sketching cars.
“When I was little, my mother didn’t want me to draw. I used to draw on the edges of newspapers. I was doing small drawings then, but now I am able to work on large canvases,” he said, acknowledging the occasional greeting from friends who arrived at the salon.
For a show that would end on April 10, there was a lot to see – at least 71 pieces of the different parts of the prototype car in different sizes. From miniatures to large paintings, he breathed equal passion through the pieces to speak volumes about the lack of innovation in Nigeria.
“I am particularly trained in industrial thinking and today our naira is approaching 800 to a pound. This exhibition aims to open people’s minds to what the industry can be and my favorite subject is automotive design. Future African cars will come from these designs.
“What prevents us from making more prototypes is that we don’t have the premises for research and development. If we had more designers in government, for example if we had a general designer, then we could bring the exchange rate down to one pound for two naira as it was a few years ago. We have everything here. We have the materials. I built this car 100% with Nigerian materials,” he explained.
When asked if he was concerned about the global agenda for climate change and sustainability, especially with the trend in Europe and other developed countries where private use of automobiles is reduced along with transport urban, he revealed that his agenda was quite different.
“The problem we have here is human disasters. They (the western world) have natural disasters. If Nigeria heats up. This is a huge opportunity for our solar development. If we are going to make an ideal country and specify it for human habitation, it is Nigeria. Nigeria are not warming up so that is not an advantage.
“The only downside we have is the people. After this exhibition, we hope that many will be inspired to build cars and make building materials and start using the intellect in different ways,’ said the automotive designer who studied architecture at the University. de Lagos (UNILAG), graduated with distinction in his Final Year Design Studio Presentation. He would later study vehicle design at the Royal College of Arts in London, where he graduated in 1994.
Curated by Peju Alatise and Ade Shokunbi, the exhibition reflects Akintunde’s versatility in art and design with his works such as Circa, Trika 2, Regional Character, Green Revolution and Colourway On the Highway.
Director of The Art Pantheon, Nana Sonoiki, also described the Autovista show as “a truly unique exhibition in Nigeria’s history”, creating “a space to engage with art as a catalyst for technological progress and of national progress”.
In the catalog of the exhibition, Joseph Omoh Ndukwu traced the progress of automotive technology in Nigeria: “The construction of the automotive industry in Nigeria has been long and there is still much to do. From the 1950s, Nigeria began to have cars assembled in the country.
Starting with companies like Federated Motors Industries and SCOA Nigeria Plc., Nigeria had operational assembly lines manufacturing Bedford TJ trucks and Peugeot vans. Production improved in the 1970s as Volkswagen and Leyland became more dominant in the market. In the 1980s, however, things started to go downhill due to economic downturns,” he said.
Akintunde is the Managing Director of Ivixi Design Movement Ltd. After studying automotive design and working in the UK for a time, he returned to Nigeria and architecture, becoming the creative design director of the Design Union Consulting group and a trustee of several other architectural establishments.
The show ends on April 10.