•Tells City People
Modupe Ogunlesi is one of the leading female entrepreneurs. She is the CEO of Adam & Eve Homeware, a leading luxury store in Lagos. Modupe is the darling wife of popular Fashion & Lifestyle Guru, Lanre Ogunlesi, MD of Sofisticat. She is very passionate about making the home space a place of real comfort and happiness, a replica of the biblical Garden of Eden. Many households have been made proud of their home spaces as homewares from Adam & Eve luxury stores have greatly transformed them into something incredible.
Adam & Eve is a store established in 1997. 24 years later and still counting the luxury is still very active and waxing strong by the day. As a way of encouraging Nigerians to use Art to complement the interior look of their home, it is presently staging “The Content” Art Exhibition; “The Second Harmattan Edition”.
The exhibition is a 6-week long (5th of November, 2021 -12th of December, 2021) event held at its store at 8, Isaac John Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos state. It showcases real Nigerian artistry worthy of gracing the home space at affordable costs. The annual event is a mind-blowing exposition many people long for and wouldn’t want to miss. This is the reason why they travel from home and abroad to take part in the exhibition.
The exhibition features 6 talented and highly creative artists namely; Hamid Ibrahim, Segun Aiyesan, Wande George, Clara Aden, Emeka Nwagbara, and Elizabeth Ekpeterson. Their works were largely complemented by the works of an icon and one of Africa’s most notable artists, Professor Bruce Onobrakpeya and the widely celebrated Lekan Onabanjo.
In a chat with City People reporter, JAMIU ABUBAKAR, during the unveiling ceremony of “The Content” Art Exhibition, Modupe Ogunlesi spoke about the exhibition and the motives behind it. He also revealed how she has sustained the Adam and Eve luxury store for 24 years
Tell us about today’s art Exhibition?
It’s the 4th edition. We have the Spring and the Harmattan editions. So, we have had 2 Spring editions and this is the second Harmattan. This is our 4th edition. The first edition was top ranged artists, and then we had watercolours. The 3rd one was mix-mix, you know. And this one is mid-career, definitely mid-career.
What informs the idea of “The Content” Art Exhibition?
Adam & Eve is all about luxury Homeware which involves your dining plates, your beddings. So when you have such a beautiful thing, it’s only fair to have original art on your wall to complement your space. So that’s where the idea came from.
How would you rate this year’s art exhibition compared to the previous one you have held?
Well, a variety of artists again, more affordable within the younger generation; I mean younger people might not have as much money to buy a Kolade Osinowo or something higher but at least to be able to do something nice so that once they complement their space. It’s always with original art and this encourages the artists and it is something that you yourself can feel emotional about. The artists’ interpretation is one thing but you yourself; how you interpret that art is also a different way.
What should prospective guests be expecting as they come for the 6-week long exhibition?
Six mid-career artists are the ones where are actually showcasing. Then we have guest artists; Lekan Onabanjo is seasoned then we have Baba Bruce Onobrakpeya. You know he is Baba of the Babas. So, those are 8. But the funny thing about these 6 artists is that their work is so varied. Even when you look at their works, you won’t believe that it was the same artist who produced A is the one that produced B. Because they have tried to explore all they have to participate in this exhibition. So, I think it’s worthwhile to come and see because you, yourself go in now, you would be surprised at the depth of the work. Especially with COVID, they have not been able to go and do some things and therefore they poured more passion into their paintings. And that is reflected in this exhibition. So that’s why. We are keeping this for 6 weeks. So it doesn’t matter. Even if you are outside Lagos, come and see. I think our art is like our music. We have so much talent. It’s incredible. So that’s what I want people to come in and experience. Of course, it is worth it.
Why did you choose 3 different personalities to cut the ribbons marking the beginning of the exhibition?
Because I think they are a lover of beauty. Even if they are not earnest collections, you should appreciate beauty. You can imagine some of these artworks in your space. And I have picked them because of that. They are mixed generations. And I think we have got a nice choice.
How did you get to pick the 6 artists whose works are being showcased?
I looked at their Artwork. These are not the only 6 we wanted to exhibit. We looked at the artwork and I picked the ones that their work pulled me. Knowing that they are excited here, they now made an extra effort to match the luxury of Adam & Eve. And therefore, even you have seen these artists before, it’s worth it to come in here and see again what they thought would suit Adam & There is a difference when you are just painting and when you are painting to match a certain bond.
Why did you go into the homeware line of business?
For me, I find marriage very important. It’s something that completes the human being. But it’s not as easy as it sounds which is why marriages break. Marriage curtails freedom for the man as well as the woman. So within a marriage, you need to make both of you enjoy something between you so that you don’t feel constrained too much by marriage. Now when you have a beautiful home, when you have these beautiful pieces, you come home and you are at peace. It helps a lot. So Adam & Eve has always been about how to make your home more comfortable, more comforting so that when you enter your home, you can feel better about everything that’s happening. It is not only about married couples. It is about every individual because that peace you get in your space is what will elongate your life. So I say it’s luxury homeware. We do 3 different grades. It’s just that the dollar has gone mad now, so even what used to be cheap can no longer be classed as cheap. But we do 3 different levels; we do the ultimate, we do the middle and we do the bottom. We never go down to the Volks because we are starting from Rose Royce, we will do the Toyota and we will do the ….you know! But generally, it is to make you feel happy about yourself. So you need to come into our store; that is I say online is not quite the same. The feeling you get when you entered is different. You can’t create that as such. You need to feel the warmth of my staff, you need to feel good about yourself and that’s what Adam & Eve is all about.
What has been the driving force in sustaining the Adam&Eve brand and keeping it up there over the years?
The thing is you must continually challenge your frontiers, not saying I have got there and relax. No! You keep up self-improving. You must continuously challenge your own frontier so that you stay in front. Continuous education is also important.
What would be your advice to younger entrepreneurs amidst the present economic realities?
To stay true to the cause; instead of thinking about what your talents are and utilizing your talents, people keep on thinking about what is trending. But you might not have passion for what is trending. If you are working on something you have a passion for, then working 24/7 isn’t a big deal because you are enjoying along with it. And that is what you must keep to. Don’t look at what somebody else is doing. You face what is your passion.
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