Emmanuel Ukudolo l Monday, April 17, 2017
AKUTE, Ogun, Nigeria – Dr. David Herbert Dale is no doubt a living legend when it comes to arts. He is a master whose works transcend cultural boundaries.
He is a very rare artist and perhaps the only one who works in as much as 21 media. At 70, he is not too old,but he has been rendered almost inactive by stroke and he has been in this condition for over 4 years.Unlike many, he counts himself very lucky to have survived an attack of stroke. He is attributing the ailment to hardwork and chemicals, like resins and glue which he deploys in beaded works that have brought him international fame.
Though down with stroke, he is having every reason to thank God for using the likes of Mr. Mike Adenuga, Cheif Executive Officer of Glo, Elizade Motors and an ex-student he taught at the University of Lagos who sponsored his three trips so far to Germany for his treatment.
Without this intervention, he would long have been dead. For him, life is meaningless if he cannot do what he likes best – the art works -which keeps him going. He is scheduled for six medical trips to Germany. He has done three, with three left to go.
He could have sponsored himself but for now he is left with nothing. More especially as he has been restricted to just an hour a day in his studio and barely managing to walk around with pains all over.
Those he trained who would have assisted are no longer interested because they are now weak and unable to carry on with beaded works, his major preoccupation that demands so much strength, attention and skill.
Even the young artist who should be hungry for knowledge and take pride in learning from such a guru are so much in a hurry to make money without paying attention to details.
” I have a name which I must protect”, he told this reporter in Akute.
He is now counting on philantropic Nigerians to come to his aid through voluntary donations which is payable into his account, David Dale at Sterling Bank with Account Nos. 0010361150.
David Dale has contributed immensely to humanity and the works of arts. He was rewarded with a Doctorate degree in Arts from the prestigious Yaba College of Technology.
I WORK IN 21 DIFFERENT MEDIA
DAVID HERBERT DALE was born 22nd November, 1947. He attended Groombridge, England before proceeding to Guildford Grammar School, Surrey, England, where he spent three years. Thereafter, he moved to Saint Gregory Grammar School, Obalende,Lagos, Nigeria.
” I had to come home when my father died”, he said. Between 1967 and 71, he studied Fine Arts at Ahmadu Bello University with specialisation in Graphic Arts. ” Ironically, today, I work in 21 different artistic media. That probably makes me one of the few artists in the world that are able to work with such a large media”, he told Emmanuel Ukudolo in 1997.
Signs that he will be a famous artist started very early in his life. At the age of seven, two of his works, The Cart Pusher and The Apple Seller were published in the Liverpool Children Newspaper, and was paid three Guineas – three Ponds, three Shillings. “This was the beginning of the beginning”, he said.
The first work he sold as an exhibiting artist was pottery created with deep etching and it was bought by Babs Williams for N21, when he was hosted by Mr and Mrs Aig Imokuede in October 1972.
“As a tradition, I attach an explanatory note to each exhibition I had so that viewers can enjoy the works even when I am not there”, he said.
His hobbies are collection of coins and currencies, stamps from allover the world, and this he has done for over 45 years.
Dale’s collection of stamps were sold in the U.K in July, 1996. He also collects musical records.
“In the next 10 years, there wouldn’t be records anymore and they will become collectable items”, he told our reporter in 1997.
But why does he collect stamps?
” When you collect stamps, it is like you are going through a picture gallery, when each work is in a miniature form.
He is also a keen flower gardner. During his numerous travels, he collected flowers and seeds from all over the world which he planted in his botanical garden, then at Adebola Street, Surulere, Lagos.
But this(gardening)he has been unable to do in the last four years due to stroke. But his home in Akute belies the claim, thanks to a jolly good fellow that spent some thousands to set up his garden in Akute, Ogun State.
He wants to be remembered as someone who did so much for the arts. “Somebody who lived in it, ate in it and slept in it”.
Dale dislikes dishonest people and has an only daughter. For him, selfless commitment, and disregard for initial financial returns in order to establish oneself remains the bedrock of success.
He is working on an exhibition of masters coming up at Mydrin Gallery, courtesy, Mrs Ogunsanya, even as he has been pencilled down for a documentry.
David Herbert Dale has exhibited in USA, Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, Spain, Germany, former USSR, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Cuba, Japan and Holland.
By 1997, he had fearured in 58 exhibitions, worldwide. His major collectors are Royal Collection, Sweden, The Governor General of Australia, Former Prime Minister of Kanuatu, Julius Nyerere, Ford Foundation, New York, Haward University, Washington DC, The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mbari Art, Washington, DC, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Chisborough Product Industries, Lagos, former NAL Merchant Bank, Alfa Romeo, Italy.
His outstanding commissions are Peacock(engraving and beaded works) for City Group Organisation, African Child Rising High(engraving), for Dolmack Partnership, Lagos,1975; Coins of the World(beads and metal foils and mosaic) for UBA, Sokoto; Banking Activities and Story of the Currency Growth in Nigeria, (bead work) for defunct Devcom Merchant Bank, Lagos, 1990; Skyscrappers, engraving and deep etching for Lagos State House, 1976; Deep etching, foil and other art works for Reece, Lagos 1985; Mural for Nigerian Pavilion at Expo 1967 in Montreal, Canada; Designed logo for Ministry of Communication, Lagos and former P &T logo. He also designed 1971 Christmas Card for Student Union at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaire; Metal foil work, National Registry; the IMB 23½ metres long engraving in the reception foyer; Mosaic and metal works for UBA in Abuja, Yola, Sokoto, Idiroko, Ota, Ijebu Ode. He also did works for First Bank, former ETB, Intercontinetal Merchant Bank; 24 by 9 feet beaded work, 33works for Federal Palace Hotel extention and VIP Guest House in Victoria Island, Lagos.
He has won awards and honours worldwide. They include second place medal, International Arts Competition 1963 -1965; Gold, Silver medals and silver cup at the 1965 Festival of Arts; First Class Star Award, Human Education Institute for Africa, for his contribution to contemporary arts in Africa in 1994; 2nd Prize, Gold Life Painting contest, organised by Kingsway Stores 1959, 2nd Prize for his Lino Print, Iganmu Masquerade 1965; Festival of Arts in Lagos, Nigeria, Bronze Medal by Diamond Publishing presented by former Vice President, Rtd Augustus Aikhomu, 1994, Silver medal, Human Education Institute of Africa(HEIA) in 1963, Silver cup, HEIA, 1964; Gold Medal, HEIA, 1965. He has written a book, Explanatory notes on Deep Etching.