Power Figure II

Wole Lagunju

Medium:

Ink on Fabriano Paper, 2019

Dimensions:

61cm x 46cm

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ABOUT WOLE LAGUNJU

Wole Lagunju’s hybrid paintings of traditional Gelede masks are juxtaposed with images of modern women in the Western world and redefine the forms and philosophies of Yoruba visual art and design. He re-imagines and transforms cultural icons appropriated from the Dutch Golden and Elizabethan ages interspersed with elements from the Western world in the fifties and sixties. Lagunju’s cultural references, mined from the eras of colonisation and decolonisation of the African continent, critique the racial and social structures of the 19th century whilst evoking commentaries on power, femininity and womanhood.

Wole was awarded a Phillip Ravenhill Fellowship by the UCLA in 2006 and a Pollock Krasner award in 2009. He currently lives in the United States. Artist Statement

“My paintings of Yoruba Gelede masks juxtaposed with classical and iconic Western imagery explore the notions of race, femininity, womanhood and sexuality. They are also meant to be contemporary redefinitions of traditional Yoruba visual art. 

Gelede (Ge means to ‘pet or tenderly deal with’; ele refers to a woman’s genitalia and de, ‘to soften them with gentleness’) is a male dance by which men celebrate women, their physical attributes, sacred powers and motherhood. I have chosen therefore, to celebrate the masks by making visual compositions of ‘new’ Gelede masquerades dressed in the ceremonial regalia of the Western world. In doing this, I mean to critique, racial and cultural stereotypes and ideology. These are values and stereotypes that generate assumptions of a dominant cultural prerogative and singular historical perspective within issues of power and gender and identity.” 

Wole Lagunju

 

Solo Exhibitions

2019: Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Pennsylvania, USA

2018-2019: ‘Yoruba Remixed’, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021: Stop, Listen!’, CFHILL, Stockholm, Sweden

2020: 1-54 London, Montague Contemporary, USA

2020: Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa

2019:  ‘AKAA (Also Known As Africa)’ 2019, Paris, France

2019: ‘Diaspora’, New Ashgate Gallery, Surrey, UK

2019: ‘A Smaller Scale’, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Afric

2017: ‘Recits d”Afrique’, La Galerie Africaine, Paris, France

2017: ‘Colourchart’, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa

2017: ‘Tempo, expo d’Art contemporain’, Cloitre des Billettes, Paris, France

2014: ‘Opening Exhibition: Furious Flower Conference, Seeding the future of African ‘American Poetry’,

2014: James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA

2014: ‘Wole Lagunju: African Diaspora Artist and Transnational Visuality’, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA

2011: ‘Womanscape: Race, Gender and Sexuality in African Art’, University of Texas, Austin Texas, USA

2009: ‘Egungun: Diaspora Recycling’, University of Texas, Austin Texas, USA

2008: ‘Africa Now’, The World Bank Art Program, Washington DC, USA

2008: ‘Healing Beauty’, The Mizel Museum, Denver, Colorado, USA

2008: ‘Art for Africa’, Juried Exhibition, The Emerson Centre for the Arts and Culture, Bozeman, Montana, USA

2007: ‘African Artists Celebrating Ethiopian Millennium’, The Belvedere, Baltimore USA Mbari Art, Washington DC, USA

2006: ‘Let’s Art Nadine Guntert meets Africa’. Vernissage: Bilder von Mauva Lessor, Osahenye Kainebi,

2006: Wole Lagunju, Ablade Glover, Stein-und Holzskulpturen, Luzern. Switzerland.

2006: ‘The Art of Oshogbo’, Via Mundi Gallery, Atlanta USA

2005: Pan African Film and Arts Festival, Los Angeles, USA

2004: ‘Without Borders- Four Contemporary Artists’, Pan African University, Ajah, Lagos

2002: Afrika Heritage, Lagos

2002: ‘Linkages’, Gallery 1,2,3,4, Trinidad and Tobago, USA

2002: TotalfinaElf Art Exhibition, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

2000: ‘Visions and Sensibilities’, Signature Art Gallery, Lagos

1997: ‘Best of Ife’, Goethe Institut, Lagos

1995: Sammlung fur Neue Afrikanische Kunst, Afrika Haus Freiberg

1995: Ona – Best of Ife- Signature Art Gallery, Lagos

1993: ‘Best of Ife’, Signature Art Gallery, Lagos

1993: ‘Linkages’, Gallery 1,2,3,4, Trinidad and Tobago