Adewale Adeleke: The Maestro of Set Design Whose Artistic Brilliance Shines Bright – Chief Original Gangstar
Recently, the Nigerian cinematic space has been spiralling onto more international platforms and creating a well-deserved recognition for the industry. From Nigerian movies being featured on Netflix, starting with the 2018 film, “Lionheart”, to Nollywood directors and film producers being celebrated internationally, it is evident that Nigerians own a reputable spot in the enchanting world of cinema. Let’s not mince words… Whenever I see a global blockbuster, I am always on the lookout for a Nigerian as a key player in the movie’s crew. And 8 times out of 10, I was right. There is just a unique flavour of raw talent that Nigerians add to any project they work on. It is raw talents like these, talents that leave their own unique mark, that we will be spotlighting in a bit.
In today’s issue of Chief Original Gangstar, our COG is Adewale Adeleke, the brilliant Art Director behind “Anikulapo” and “King of Thieves”, whose mastery of set design has left an indelible mark on Nollywood. In this issue, we will dive into the captivating tale of Adewale Adeleke, like the opening scene of a blockbuster film, by highlighting the different factors in his life and the gangstar moves he made that have contributed to his status as a visionary artist and the crown jewel of Nollywood’s art directors.
While the world was mesmerised by the Netflix sensation, “Anikulapo,” an epic journey through 17th-century Yorubaland, it was the artistic brilliance of Adewale Adeleke that breathed life into the stunning landscapes and complex settings of this cinematic masterpiece. Due to the apt elements the movie boasts of, “Anikulapo” soared to global acclaim, captivating over 9 million viewers within two weeks of its release, a testament to the power of storytelling through visuals.
As we delve into the creative genius behind the scenes, Adewale Adeleke, we discover a multi-talented maestro donning various hats in the world of filmmaking. Actor, producer, director, scriptwriter, and art director—Adewale Adeleke wears these titles with pride and finesse. But how does one juggle these diverse roles seamlessly?
In an exclusive interview with Oluwatomisin Olorunfemi for “What Kept Me Up”, Adeleke took us on a journey through his Nollywood odyssey, a path paved with determination and creativity. Trained under the tutelage of Razak Olayiwola, he learned the intricacies of film production, from scriptwriting to directing. It was this comprehensive education that laid the foundation for his versatile career.
Adeleke’s humble beginnings in Nollywood were marked by the struggles familiar to many newcomers. The industry’s unfamiliar territory can challenge anyone’s determination. But Adewale Adeleke’s unwavering commitment and hunger for success set him apart. Today, his brand is a beacon of excellence, a trusted name synonymous with quality.
The world of Nollywood demands flexibility, and Adewale Adeleke understood this early on. He recognized that he needed to be a jack of all trades to thrive in this ever-evolving landscape. The industry’s rapid changes and fierce competition required the ability to adapt, and, as a result, he ventured into set design, a path aligned with his natural gift for craftsmanship.
Set design, for Adeleke, is not merely about constructing physical environments; it’s about storytelling through visuals. He believes that a well-designed set should speak to the audience, conveying the characters’ essence and surroundings. That is why Adeleke always sees to it that his sets breathe life into each scene, immersing viewers in the world of the film.
Collaboration is the cornerstone of filmmaking, and the synergy between different departments is crucial. However, in Adeleke’s world, lighting takes centre stage. He believes that the partnership between set design and lighting is a delicate dance, ensuring that the visual narrative is seamless and evocative. Costume and makeup follow closely behind, harmonizing to create a visual harmony.
Adewale Adeleke has also expressed that challenges are the stepping stones to growth in his world because he thrives on adversity, relishing the opportunity to push his creative boundaries. He also attributed the experience of watching foreign films serving as both inspiration and education, offering valuable insights into innovative set design techniques. In his eyes, there are no insurmountable obstacles, only opportunities waiting to be seized.
Adewale Adeleke’s journey has been remarkable, filled with dedication and triumphs. His latest victory at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCAs) as “Best Art Director” for his work on “Ageshinkole” stands as a testament to his artistry. It’s a recognition he holds dear, symbolizing his unwavering commitment to his craft.
As we gaze into the future of Nollywood set design, Adewale Adeleke sees a landscape transformed by investors and opportunities. The once-harsh realities of budget constraints are gradually fading, allowing filmmakers the freedom to explore their creative visions without compromise. It’s a promising era for set design, one where Adewale Adeleke’s artistic brilliance will continue to shine brightly.
In the enchanting world of cinema, Adewale Adeleke is the magician who turns dreams into reality, the visionary artist who brings stories to life. His journey is a testament to Nollywood’s enduring spirit of creativity, and his name is etched in the annals of filmmaking history.
Rosemary Kasiobi Nwadike
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