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Nigerian Heritage Explored Through Art at Bryden

The day after his 72nd birthday, Samuel Deji Adebuga will celebrate a new chapter of his life by showcasing his vibrant, multimedia artworks in an exhibit on the East Side. His abstract and partly figurative creations, deeply influenced by his Nigerian roots, will be featured at a special event on July 13. They will remain on display throughout the month at 700 Bryden Community on Bryden Road, a hub for artists and entrepreneurs.

Adebuga’s enthusiasm and vitality belie his age. He has been passionate about art since he was a child in southwestern Nigeria. He pursued studies in typography, journalism, and fine art in Nigeria, Great Britain, and the United States, working mainly in graphic design to support his family. Now, he is ecstatic to dedicate himself entirely to fine art.

Adebuga often draws inspiration from music and musicians. His work “Don’t Feed Poverty, Let’s Empower Human Race” features three vibrantly dressed West African women playing the drums. Another notable piece, “Baba Elemu (Palmwine Tapper),” portrays a Nigerian woman on a bicycle against a backdrop of palm trees and an orange sky.

One of Adebuga’s most striking works is a portrait of Cecil, an African lion who was tragically killed by an American hunter. The piece is rich with multimedia elements, using ropes to form the lion’s mane. Adebuga enjoys incorporating such materials to “exaggerate details in mostly traditional-based motifs.”

Nigeria’s fluffy white sheep, crucial to the country’s economy, appear in many of his works, including “Agbo Funfun.” Adebuga has also captured scenes from Columbus, including abstract pieces highlighting the new wing of the Columbus Museum of Art.

All his works are signed “Sam Adebuga,” accompanied by a small crown symbol, symbolizing royalty — a nod to the meaning of his name in Nigerian.

Living in north Columbus since 1990, Adebuga is a father of five and maintains close ties with his family in Nigeria. He has studied art at Ohio State University and exhibited his works at various venues, including the Priscilla R. Tyson Cultural Arts Center, John Glenn Columbus International Airport, and Ohio State University’s Faculty Club. Four of his pieces are currently displayed at the Karl Road branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Art has always been Adebuga’s passion and lifeline. He reflected on how, even while working different jobs, “I might have tried to bury my talent, but people always found out. One thing I’ve learned about myself is how essential art is to my emotional and spiritual well-being.”

“Deji Adebuga: The Retrospective Exhibit” will be open to the public from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, at 700 Bryden Community, at the intersection of Bryden Road and Parsons Avenue. The exhibit will continue through July 31. The building is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch