On each series of #MeetTheArtist we try to profile emerging artist in Nigeria, different individuals on a mission to change perceptions or alter the way the world sees a particular issue or situation with their works.One this episode , we are looking at a pack leader of her own clan. She’s been tagged a “Rebel” in her own profession; as a photographer Deola Olagunju has been able to set standards with her own way of viewing the world, changing perceptions and status quo with her images.
A deep thinker and a prophet in her own right, a lot of people have come to accept the “mysterious ways” of Deola Olagunju. Born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria, after obtaining a degree in Fine and Applied Arts (Graphic Design) in 2009, she worked as a graphic artist for advertising agencies in Lagos. Working Primarily in Photography, her artistic practice encompasses a range of medium, including ; video, painting, and collage. She explores themes around her environment,self and memory with documentary and conceptual approaches. Adeola has been on residencies at Kuona Trust Centre for Visual Art in Nairobi, Kenya and the Lagos Photo Summer School exchange programme in Berlin, Germany. She has participated in photography master classes and exhibitions locally and internationally. She was the recipient of the Lagos Photo Festival Award in 2012 and the Young Art Fund, Amsterdam Award in 2013.
Giving fresh perspective to her works, Deola was kind enough to share with us one of her recent projects titled – RESURGENCE: A MANIFESTO which is a series of photographic performance which portrays the unacceptability and high level of socio-religion and political decadence in Africa.
This series of work reflects Olagunju’s forthrightness and crusade for resurgence from mental shackles. It focuses on the quest for reawakening and awareness of our sense of identity, which she considers to be threatened. Olagunju’s work provides a sense of hope, paying attention to the form and signs of possible resistance.
BloodLine-BloodLust: In this Image, Deola captures the essence of our struggle in life as humans, the need for us to continue to survive as humans at the detriment of our health and those “situations” we put our selves through. The irony of the Image is an oil tanker meant to supply fuel and a lady is seen on the tanker with a Jerry can on her head. Taking a close look at the tanker, you will see the caption written in white paint “Lifting Point, Empty Barrel Only” puts a whole twist to the image.
Bootles:The Typical idea of a boot camp is to drill a human to a complete fitness mode. Activities in the boot camp include push ups, running, skipping and lifting weights and other rigorous physical exercises. But picture a boot camp and a lady dragging a full metal object such as train. That explains as human, the mental torture we put ourselves through, mental weight triple size of our body and physical strength.
Captive Mind: How do you picture a captive mind? How do you picture a struggling mind, a mind crying loud for salvation, crying out for release from the torture and pain it’s going through. “Vanity upon Vanity,all is Vanity”. In this Image Deola gives us a perfect representation of what a captive mind looks like. A beautiful lady bound in chains; she’s left with the option of remaining in that situation or making moves to free herself from the bondage. Bondage of life or society.
DreamLand:“Rich or Poor, let’s put our heads together, lay down in different patterns, our dreams wont still be the same” For the poor man who wants the riches and wealth on this world, his only escape is the Dreamland where he can be anything he wants to be, at the point his current situation does not matter but when he wakes up, It’s back to reality. Deola captures our perfect struggle in life in this Image. In order to escape reality at times, we put ourselves in a “Dreamland” situation. But once we are done dreaming, reality knocks us back to life. Can you see the 1908 written on the train? Call it a throwback.
Excuse Me: What’s the probability of a girl-child getting qualitative education outside the locked gates of a school? Well, if she pursues her dream well enough, she can get and achieve all she wants in life. It will take strong determination and resilience. “Excuse me” yes, I can make it too. Deola captures the life of a go-getter in this Image. Sitting in front of a barricaded door, and reading a book, empowering her mind and feeding her soul with positive fuel. Excuse me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!