Bunmi Agusto reimagines elements integral to her cultural consciousness in order to create intertwined narratives illustrating the lives of humans and mutated figures within a fictional nation. These mutated subjects exist as an intersection of the cultural and biological connotations of the terms alien and hybrid. Agusto then flips this notion by making humans the immigrants on the island. She works predominantly with pastel pencils and mixed media. Agusto received her BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins where she graduated with First Class Honours and was awarded the Cass Art Prize twice. Her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, The Koppel Project Central Gallery, XII Glover, and OXO Bargehouse. This series shows glimpses of human subjects in their homes through the perspective of windows. Symbols that traditionally feature on Adire cloths appear on the exterior walls to give insight into the individual narratives unfolding on the other side of the walls. The intrusive designs of these homes are rooted in the hybrid natives’ initial distrust of foreigners.
Yagazie Emezi is a Nigerian artist and self-taught photojournalist focused on stories surrounding African women and their health, sexuality, education and human rights. Having worked extensively across Africa, Yagazie covers stories on identity and culture, social justice, climate change and migration as well. Her art practice uses photography and sculpture to construct visual critiques of Nigeria's socio-political state and the roles media play in it, pulling from history and current events. She began her journey in 2015 and has since worked with Al-Jazeera, New York Times, Vogue, Newsweek, Inc. Magazine, TIME, The Guardian, Washington Post, National Geographic, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Weather Channel, New York Times Magazine and several not-for-profit organizations. After ten months in Monrovia, Liberia (2017) documenting the impact of education for girls in at-risk communities, Yagazie returned to her ongoing project Re-learning Bodies which explores how trauma survivors, outside the narrative of violence and abuse, adapt to their new bodies while marking the absence of an effusive culture around body positivity as a noteworthy cultural phenomenon. Through 2018 - 2019, Yagazie documented patrols at sea through Liberia, Gabon and Namibia with the non-profit Sea Shepherd, recording government efforts to protect marine wildlife from Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) activities. Yagazie is a recipient of the 2018 inaugural Creative Bursary Award from Getty Images. A participant for the 2018 New York Portfolio Review, she has also been featured by British Journal of Photography, Huffington Post, i-D, Nieman Reports, Paper Magazine, Vogue, CNN and The Washington Post. In November of 2018, she received a grant from the U.S Consulate General in Lagos for her photo-series addressing the reality of sexual violence against women and the vulnerable young in Nigeria. In 2019, she became the first black African woman to photograph for National Geographic Magazine and is a National Geographic Explorer Grantee. Yagazie was among the 2019 inaugural artists selected for Kehinde Wiley's art residency at Black Rock, Senegal and is a 2019 nominee to the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. She is a contributor to Everyday Africa and a member of its advisory board. Yagazie is currently a mentor at the 2021 Women Photograph Mentorship Programme.
Anne Adams (b 1993, Abuja, Nigeria) is a contemporary Ceramic artist, working primarily with clay. She uses the coil technique to build edges and silhouettes, to establish forms, which in turn develops rhythmic families of shapes. Employing coil method to create pieces, allows her an intimate freedom of artistic expression, allowing a potential for disruption and flexibility of original ideas, as she works solely by intuition.
Her work focuses on geometric tones and textures, recurrent patterns, hues and grooves, amidst stratification of ceramic landscape to depict a sense of involvement of our core integration with the human experience. The use of symmetry in her works, is an operational, transformative, reflective and harmonious display of interactions with proportion and balance.
She creates a perception of order and beauty, which reflects back on our own physical existence, where symmetrical order is inherently present in our body form and all around us. Her work is a fusion of creativity and mathematics to further bring about a meditative quality which transcends visual rigidity. Anne has participated in both local and international group exhibitions, with her most recent exhibition at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago 2020.
She has featured in online publications and televised shows including: BBC News Pidgin, Daily trust newspaper, Channels Tv to mention a few. Anne is focusing on using her medium and style, to change the narrative surrounding the quality and potential of ceramic as an art form in Nigeria.
Fadekemi Ogunsanya is a multi-disciplinary Nigerian artist based in the UK. Born in 1995, she attended boarding school in the UK before receiving her Masters from the Architectural Association in London. She began painting in 2016, first in a more colourful figurative style, and then from 2018 onwards, with differing shades of blue watercolour and gouache. Fadekemi’s blue paintings can also be seen as emotional paintings. Taking inspiration from her feelings, whether they be of love, fear, grief or pain, the paintings are a representation of her own inner psyche. For her, painting is a spiritual space where she can work through emotions, with the resulting paintings often coming out as autobiographical. Drawing on repeated pattern plays and motifs from surrealism and folkloric painting, and continually revering women, she uses blue because she sees it as in some ways darker than black. There is a multiplicity to blue that she likes, it can equally carry the whimsical and the solemn. With her architectural background, Fadekemi has always been interested in objects, and she has always wanted her paintings to be seen as both two-dimensional and three-dimensional. And so in 2019, she started to make prototypes for hand-painted, laser-cut, wooden frames that could hold each painting and allow them to straddle the space between image and object.
Layo Bright (b. Lagos, Nigeria) explores themes of migration, culture, gender and family in her works. She has lectured as a Professor at The New School (Department of Integrated Design), and has exhibited work in the U.S. and Nigeria, with notable group exhibitions including SOMETHING ABOUT US, Anthony Gallery, IL; A Chance Encounter, Parts & Labor Beacon, NY; You Don’t See Me, Cuchifritos Gallery, NY (2020); Migration(s) and Meanings in Art, Meyerhoff Gallery at MICA, MD (2020); Maid in Nigeria, Untitled AWCA, Lagos (2019); Through Her Eye, Mana Contemporary, IL (2018); Carry Over: New Voices from the Global African Diaspora, Smack Mellon, NY (2018); among others. She received her MFA in Fine Art(Hons.) from the Parsons School of Design (2018), and has partaken in residencies including the Studios at MASS MoCA and Triangle Arts Association. Bright is the recipient of honors and awards including the UrbanGlass Winter Scholarship Award (2020), the International Sculpture Center’s 2018 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award (2018); Program Honors from The New School (2018); the Beyoncé Formation Finalist Scholarship (2017); and the Parsons Dean Scholarship (2016).
Manyaku Mashilo was born in 1991 in Limpopo, South Africa and is currently based in Cape Town,South Africa. Dedicated to the act of cherishing lineage, Manyaku Mashilo creates otherworldly re-imaginings with precise linework. The portraits capture the self, representing a black, queer community cloaked, clothed and bathed in celestial cartographies. The enmeshed figures perform a multiplication of mappings piecing together dimensions of time, place and space, offering the land and the body as the source of a complex question of spiritual identity. Mashilo will present a solo presentation at Bonne Esperance Gallery in Paris, France in 2021. Mashilo’s work will also be included in 99 Loop Gallery’s group presentation at the 2021 Investec Cape Town Art Fair. In 2020 Mashilo's work was included in notable group shows The Medium is the Message curated by Azu Nwagbogu at Unit London in London, UK, as well as Liminality in Infinite Space at the African Artists Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria. Both the exhibitions spotlighting artists that form part of the new vanguard in the field of contemporary African figuration. Mashilo's work was also included in the 2020 Prizm Art Fair titled NOIR, NOIR: Meditations on African Cinema and its influence on Visual Art curated by Mikhaile Solomon and William Cordova in Miami, USA. In the same year she presented her solo exhibition There are other worlds they have not told you of,at 99 Loop Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa, and The Possibility of a Journey, curated by Tammy Langtry as part of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, South Africa, both in 2020. Earlier solo exhibitions include: There’s an Exhibition in My Kitchen at Breaking Bread in 2019 and Beauty | Skin |Beholder at The New Heritage Gallery in 2017, both in Cape Town. Her past group exhibitions include: She Impressions at the Project Space in Johannesburg in 2019;Sunday Service at GUS in Stellenbosch and The Numbers Exhibition at Hazard Gallery in Johannesburg in 2018; La Gravitas at La Provence Gallery in Franshoek in 2017. Mashilo’s work forms part of the Tiroche Deleon Collection and The Suzie Wong Collection.
Nola Ayoola (b.1993) is a multidisciplinary artist whose works aim to artistically express a language and translation of her being. Through portraiture, Nola’s work seeks to observe and highlight her heritage and its profound impact on her identity. Her work is both theoretically and physically ‘layered’ as her core artistic voice is built on the concept of intertwining and overlapping both stories and mediums. Her visual language pays tribute to an array of African art and design processes, from hand dyed indigo to carved block printing and weaving. Nola explores the idea that humans consist of different surfaces/ layers often varying from individual to individual. She explores this by literally building layers - creating subtle texture, ‘weathering’, then hand printing with a hand carved print block (as an ode to Yoruba wood carving techniques and traditional hand dyed indigo ‘adire’ textiles) before drawing. In her woven work, she explores the concept of intertwining and overlapping of atoms. Whilst Nola’s work highlights her fractured personal layers, it also celebrates representation, shared narratives and experiences, furthermore, the dissecting of layers - what she sees as ‘entities’ by delving into themes of what it is to be black, to be a woman, to be Nigerian, to be Yoruba, spirituality, the seen and unseen. A sense of opacity evident helps to unpack these layers. Her current, ongoing body of work consists of a series of mixed media pieces which highlight aspects of narratives pertaining to the themes she explores with a mythical/ folklore expression. For example, everyday life, rights of passage and traditional kinship. This project shows an exploration of layering in different approaches both in its processes and its narratives. Yet, it is relatable - allowing the viewer to uncover and peel back these entities of what they may or may not be able to in varying depths.
Osaru Obaseki (b. 1993) is a visual artist from Edo State, Nigeria. A graduate of the University of Port Harcourt, she is a self-taught artist who started off her practice by exploring the flow of acrylic on canvas. In 2017, Osaru started working with other mediums during her time at Nosons Studios under the Edo Global Center platform. Influenced by the rich cultural heritage of Benin Kingdom, she was particularly drawn to sand sourced from her environs. Using this medium, she interrogates the suppression faced by women who have trudged the earth from which her works stem. She now creates using a combination of sand and acrylic as a way of synergizing two different civilizations – the ancient and the modern. Osaru’s works further intertwine iconographies and motifs, which invoke ancient communication and the inception of language. She has been part of several group exhibitions and workshops, including the prestigious RELE Art Foundation Young Contemporaries exhibition (2019); Re:Entanglement (2019), a collaboration between the Cambridge University, London and Nosona Studios that explored the anthropological findings of Northcote W. Thomas, a British anthropologist who documented the Edo speaking people between 1909-1910; Women in Art exhibition a collaborative effort between IDDUK and Gaia Women Club in Lagos; Harmattan Workshop with the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation; and Presenationand Representation workshop with Angels and Muse, Lagos.
Peju Alatise is an interdisciplinary artist, architect and author of two novels. Her debut novel Orita Meta, chronicling the interwoven path of three women, was nominated for the ANA/Flora Nwapa Prize for Women’s Writing in 2006. She started her professional career as an architect working in an architectural firm along side running a private art studio. Today, Peju is one of the leading contemporary artists on the African continent. Her works challenge the status quo of the African society and also of global affairs. She has been consistent with her experimentation with materials and techniques as a medium to analyse various socio-political issues. Peju has also been an influential voice on the Child Not Bride campaign in Nigeria, with her work regularly feeding into this discourse. Peju Alatise is a fellow at the National Museum of African Art, part of the Smithsonian Institution and the 2017 winner of the FNB Art Prize in Johannesburg. Her work was exhibited at Venice Biennale’s 57th edition, themed Viva Arte Viva (Long Live Art) in the Nigerian pavilion. Her works were also exhibited at the Resignification of Black Bodies, Manifesta 2018 in Palermo Italy and the 2018 EVA biennial in Ireland and 1:54 Art fair in New York. Other recent past exhibitions of her works were held at the 2014 Casablanca biennale in Morocco, Cooper gallery or African and African American art Harvard University-2017, Resignification of Black body 2016 in Museo Bardini – Florence. Peju Alatise is the founder of the ANAI Foundation – a non-profit foundation dedicated to the development of visual arts in Nigeria, and the first purpose built artist’s residency with a well-equipped ceramic studio, which offers sponsored training programs for ceramic artists.
Shannon Bono (b.1995) is a visual artist, MA Art & Science graduate from Central Saint Martin’s University (2019) and an Associate Lecture at UAL living and working in London. Shannon identifies as an Afrofemcentrist, a term that describes aconsciousness that asserts race, sex and art as a way of living, where black women are the subject depicted by a black women. As a painter, Shannon is invested in producing layered figurative compositions embedded with symbolism that centralises black womanhood as a source of knowledge and understanding. She is enamoured by African spiritually and takes inspiration from Christian iconography and the renaissance art employing its purposes of cultural impact, liturgy and instruction for an improved society. Exploring the internal parts of the body, she goes back to her scientific educational background and merges the design of notable fabrics from west and central Africa with biological structures and chemical processes in living organisms. She uses the body to act as a second canvas, including surrealist cues to work as ‘artivisms’ (art+activism) against oppressive forces, share muted narratives and celebrate black female culture. She views the body as a powerful signifier that provokes dialogue, playing with pose, gesture and the gaze to changereality. Shannon has recentlycompleted a painting tutor residency at The Koppel Project Campus. Group exhibitions of hers include Central Saint Martin’s Degree Show One 2019, SGFA (Sound, gender, feminism, and activism) Tokyo conference, Tate Exchange ‘Come Together’, Feminist Library ‘Archiving the feminist experience’ and the Koppel Project Central Gallery ‘Xhibit 2019’ showcasing the best creative talent from UAL. Bono has also exhibited at the Copeland Gallery ‘The State of Things’ , Imperial College London ‘The Colour of Pain’ raising awareness for Sickle Cell Anaemia and the Lee Alexander McQueen Sarabande Foundation. Her work has been featured in the 0.1% publication ‘Genomics, Race, Gender Politics through scientific research’, I-Science magazine and online press by Elephant magazine, Wallpaper magazine, Bustle, i-D and Soho house.
Tobi Alexandra Falade
Born 1995 Warri, Nigeria. Based in Liverpool and London. Tobi Alexandra Falade is a Nigerian-British Visual Artist creating original paintings, prints, and sculptures, engaging with narratives of modern Black British life and dialogues of African and post-colonial contexts. She creates paintings using methods of collaging, putting images next to each other from family archives and her own photography in order to build new narratives. This distinctive manipulation of materials and the techniques she uses to approach these subjects, allows her to join worlds together and tell her own story of being a Black British Nigerian woman through her artworks. Her solo exhibitions include Before Now, Arts SU Gallery, London (2019). Her Selected Group Exhibitions include The Drawing Room, Earl’s Court, London (2021), Reflections, Window Gallery, Central Saint Martins, London (2020), Here, There, Nowhere: Dwelling at the Edge of the World, The Koppel Project Exchange, London (2020), FBA Futures, Mall Galleries, London (2020), The Salon at The Wing, Fitzrovia, London (2019-2020), The State of Things, Copeland Gallery, London (2019), Xhibit, The Koppel Project Central Gallery, London (2019), For Love or For Money, Copeland Gallery, London (2019). Falade completed an Erasmus+ Exchange at Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 2018, and received a BA in Fine Art: Painting from the University of the Arts, Wimbledon College of Art, London 2019. Since graduating she has been awarded studio spaces at Arts Student Union, University of the Arts London (2019), The Koppel Project Campus London (2020), and Art Alive London (2021). She has been awarded The Space Artists Award (2021), The Very Special Fund, a grant by Hennessy in partnership with gal-dem (2021), The Koppel Project Campus Summer Scholarship (2020), Hottinger Prize for Excellence, FBA Futures (2020), The Royal Female School of Art Foundation (RFSA) Final Year Award (2019).