By Henry Akubuiro
Detoun Adeniyi will be holding her first solo exhibition entitled “Still & Searching” at 17, Maitama Sule Street, Lagos. It’s an inaugural presentation by the Cell, curated by Arinola Olowoporoku of Big Brother Naija fame.
This coming of age exhibition is an all encompassing journey with themes of sisterhood, contemplation, introspection and extrospection. Developed as a compilation of retorts to a thunderbolt, and thrown into a state of partial displacement, the artist attempts to recalibrate intricate details that make up personal identification.
In a state of openness and vulnerability to the path to discovery, thoroughly immersing herself in the experience, this body of work, according to the curator, is a response to jolting life events that transforms personhood and alters all interactive dynamics.
Of course, Searching entails moving around or looking through carefully in order to find something missing or lost, to explore or examine an idea or a person in order to discover. The exhibition, Still and Searching, explains the curator, “invites us to exist and navigate parallel worlds, a play on the idea of searching the very act that requires movement while still, devoid of movement and arrested in motion.”
While contemplating, examining perspectives at large and how to harness it for self conception, Adeniyi infuses symbolisms that depict her natural environment, physical bare form and existence. The artist aims to maintain a stillness juxtaposed with a chaotic context through the whimsical scenery, searching for what was once had, now lost yet unknown.
Olowoporoku said the artist’s work “is expressionist in nature with figurative tendencies, using allegories from global culture, places from imagined memory”, doting on themes that reflect her personal identity, exploring her sensibilities and artistic awareness.
The representation of her subjects is critical, female figures, imagined or layered. She uses mosaic on her subjects to introduce an open ended existence pulling the audience in to interrogate the complexities of being lying behind the face.
“The paintings in this body of work were achieved through experimentation and using the canvas as a method of collection of her thoughts, as medium of expression, therapeutic routine and as a learning opportunity for personal development.
“This process offers infinite opportunity of self representation covering blackness, sisterhood, femininity and cultural identity befitting contemporary conversations regarding social and political subject matter.
“The consequence of this is weightlessness, submitting to the process, affirming control of herself, aware of her new horizon and the possibilities unintended.”
The artist, Deborah Detoun Adeniyi, was born in the UK (1992), lived in Lagos in her early years before relocating to the UK, all within early childhood. All her life, Detoun has identified and experimented with varying mediums, including performance art, fine and visual art, whether in formal and informal settings with her childhood littered with an array of classes, performances and initiatives that all contribute to her intentional and unintended artistic development.
The Cell co. is a creative pathway company specialising in providing a progressively evolving platform for visual artists in Nigeria, Africa and the diaspora. It’s founder, Arinola Olowoporoku, is an art and cultural curator. In her six-year career in the arts, Arin has curated a myriad of shows from photo festivals to art fairs and traditional exhibitions.