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By NBF News
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First impression indeed lasts long. A Beninoise artist, Yves Magloire Midahuen, having received a warm welcome by Nigerians on his first visit to the country six years ago, is delighted to showcase his paintings, entitled, Woezon.

The exhibition, which would open on Saturday October 29, 2011 at Quintessence Gallery, Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos would run till October 12. Woezon, a greeting in Ewe language (Togo), meaning welcome, would feature about 30 works of paintings and mixed media. Some of the works include: Atu, My Door Is Open, La Peche Fructueuse and Wisdom.

The work, Atu, also means welcome. The artist disclosed that the first time he visited Nigeria, if he had not been welcome, he probably would never have come again. The work portrays a warm welcome. My Door is Open, is a piece that presents the right door for one to pass through, while Wisdom portrays a wise man who opens his door for people to enter and his heart to bless people.

On the other hand, another piece entitled in French is about fishermen, who go fishing. The focus is on their return where they bring back fish meaning that there is dignity in labour. It is better to go out and work and return with harvest than idleness. Curator, Moses Ohiomokhare described the artist as a calm, soft-spoken but a meticulous artist one would find interesting to work with. 'He is very detailed and articulate in his approach to his art. Midahuen, though from Benin Republic, has found Nigeria very interesting to show his art.

'The dictionary defines the word welcome as a kindly greeting or reception, and as one whose arrival gives pleasure. For Midahuen, it is a hearty hospitable reception he has always received since he has been fraternizing with Nigeria in the last six years.'

Ohiomokhare noted that Midahuen's style, technique and approach were quite different. 'His compositions are inspiring and the material he uses includes coffee. His art is also therapeutic and has intrinsic value,' he added.

Midahuen, who is popularly called, Midy said: 'I feel good coming to Nigeria in the last six years. I will like people to feel good wherever they go to. It has indeed transformed my life and I have been able to express it in my works in this exhibition. We have to learn to welcome people. The way people welcome you can let you grow in life. People should not fret about what they will give to their guests. Spiritually speaking, the guests will be coming with all that they have. The exhibition is saying thank you from the way people welcome me in Nigeria.'

The artist, whose working experience spans more than a decade, is a graduate of College of Art, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana and has attended the Harmattan Workshop in Aghara O'tor in the last six years. On my use of colour, Midy explained that all things are not so sharp or bright so he attempts to make his work look real by using different shades and tones.

His style of work called traces is peculiar to him. It is unique and has rough edges meaning that life itself is not straight all the time. It has up and down situations. The artist wishes to make a statement with this that, whatever might be the case today, tomorrow would be better. Midy said he has no regret as an artist because it is something he likes doing however, he pities some artists, who have no financial support. 'If those artists including me have support, we will do better than this. I pity those ones who have no support but have ideas to express.'

According to him, Nigerian art was quite different from theirs. 'The first reason why I came here was to interact with the Nigerian people. From that time till six years now, I am still interacting with them. I learn from them and they learn from me. I enjoy staying here. They have more arts enthusiasts.'

The artist, who had dreamt of becoming a lawyer, is now an accomplished artist with many shows to his credit. In 2008 and 2009, he was invited to participate in the first and second regional summit and exhibition on visual arts (ARESUVA) in Abuja. It goes to show how much his art is appreciated in Nigeria. He has also participated in the International Arts Expo in Lagos to show his new approaches to his works. He has also shown his works in France, Senegal, Ghana, Canada, Togo, America, China, Cote d' Ivoire, and his home country, Republic of Benin.