The Dual Interpretation of an Art Work

Redemption Song

The mien of an artist is always calm to people but he keeps observing so as to discover hidden meanings which might not be visible to the eyes. At the same time, he engages his inner being into evaluating unvoiced intentions of people around him. An artist who dedicates his life to the cause will abandon even his guts to express the intent of his heart. All these are some of the visible traits in the visual artist- Timi Kakandar.

The artist’s interpretation

The Bayelsa State born artist has sold himself unto the art, he is one of the exceptional few artists who have the ability to interpret themselves in poetry and in visual arts. It was a rare privilege meeting with him during his last solo exhibition tagged “Synthesis” at the Konga Gallery in Freedom Park, Lagos, Nigeria. Putting together an array of about 30 acrylic works of various sizes for art enthusiasts and those who invest in the arts.

According to him, he draws inspiration from the society- what is visible- and from his Christian beliefs. This is depicted through his motifs which captures a time in history and document it for the future. As described on the flyer of the exhibition, ‘his works taps into a world of beauty, poetry and the spiritual balancing bold elements in paintings full of life, movement and colour.

Probing into Kakandar’s love of arts, he mentioned that he has forsaken many things for the arts. Having been raised in Lagos, South-West and Port-Harcourt, South-South Nigeria before fate has brought him to Lagos again, the commercial arty headquarters of the country, to continue his expression in visual arts. He noted that there are times when he decides to ‘freeze’ a moment through photography before exporting his thought into painting.


Kakandar’s parents gave him the liberty to express himself and today, he is fulfilled. For the same reason, he would not force any of his biological children, who express themselves in various creative tilts, to toll his path. He noted that artists are professions in their own rights. In contemporary times, there are a lot of artist who have got to the pinnacle of life with the arts and they mingle with people from all areas of professional calling. To him, the ability to meet his dailies needs is good enough and he is certain that there are still a lot of good things for every committed artists.

While scanning the environment about apprentices who are of the quick money spinning generation, the active member of the Society of Nigerian Artists, said that today’s apprentices are usually in a haste. They are the proverbial rolling stones that gather no moss. However, when they get to certain professional junctions, a few of them run back to ask questions while some meander through it.

From his analysis, the dedication of an artist to his work would impact not just on the quality of his work but also on the ‘soul’ of each piece. This is akin to what happens to musicals too, some are full of profundity while some are mere sounds with little or no effect on the listeners. For him, those who engage in part-time use of their artistry might not be able to create images with ‘soul.’


As a dexterous creative person, the University of Port-Harcourt graduate mentioned that the duration spent for each of his painting varies as he can spend hours; a day; two days and at times, he could have a prolonged break from a work of art till he is inspired to complete the work again. In his thought, it might not be similar to “writer’s block” but the mental process eventual makes such works stand out upon completion.

When an art connoisseur purchases a work of art; it becomes his property and in fact, he is at liberty to resell the work. However, the rights of the artist becomes violated when there is unnecessary commercial exposure of arts. Arts is an investment that is not affected by recession, the audience is for the discerning few.

While we were on our chat, two ladies walked in and began to interpret, the work themed “Redemption Song”, one of the ladies covered up the interpretation by the work while the other was interpreting what she saw, “there is a lady by the cross of Calvary, looking penitent; it shows she is submission.” Her friend removed her hand from the wall to read the interpretation of the artist. Kakandar looked at me and smiled, “that’s the dual interpretation of every art work- the audience and the artist.”

The colour of life

As our discussion continued, Mr. Theo Lawson popularly called the Chief Warden of Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos walked into exhibition room. I asked him why Kakandar was given the opportunity to have the exhibition within the space, his response was simple, “he was bold enough to partner with us for this Solo Exhibition.” I recalled this age long Yoruba proverb that is loosely translated as a child that lifts up his arms would be supported.

Kakandar’s is very optimistic about the year 2018, he still has a lot of exhibitions in the offing, some of these include, an exhibition alongside other artists in a known gallery in Lagos and also he intent to have another solo exhibition again before the close of the year. Since he started being part of exhibitions in 2003, he has exhibited his paintings in Nouveau Gallery of Arts, Port-Harcourt; British Council, Port-Harcourt; Eko Hotels, Lagos. In 2015, he created the image of Kalakuta Queens, wives of the late crooner of music sensation, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, wherein their covering was newspaper cuttings to depict that they engaged the society on topic issues and this was exhibited during Felabration at Freedom Park.

The images of Kakandar are breathtaking, full of meanings and would give value to any commercial or residential. The nature of his arts transcend the paintings of a commissioned work, but an accumulation of many decisions and judgments considered; revised and reexamined to mirrors the society appropriately. Kakandar’s paintings are very beautiful engaging; check out some of his works on instagram by clicking here.

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