Dada Gallery, London, United Kingdom 14 Jul 2021 - 08 Aug 2021
Bunmi Agusto, The Path Taken, 2021, Image courtesy of the artist.
Dada Gallery (formerly POLARTICS), is delighted to present Escape to Within the first solo exhibition of Nigerian artist Bunmi Agusto, running from 12 July to 8 August 2021 at Cromwell Place, London. The exhibition features eighteen new figurative works drawn from the surrealist world of the artist’s making. Charting the migration of a group of figures across a labyrinthine landscape of braided forests and dark waters, Agusto illustrates the surreal universe she holds in her mind, so titled, ‘Within.’
Born in Lagos, Nigeria and living in London from the age of sixteen, Agusto transforms her sense of alienation that she experienced in life between these two lands, through her artistic practice, using the metaphor of hybridity within her imagined world. Depicted in pastel pencil, chalk and mixed media on paper, Agusto creates a landscape of hybrid figures that are realised as an amalgamation of textures, scenery and iconography that resonate with her cultural consciousness as a Lagosian.
Agusto’s fantastical depictions of the multiplicity of her Nigerian identity, draw from traditional Nigerian imagery and contemporary pop-culture references. Studying cultural theory from a young age, both in Nigeria concerning the critique of cultural traditions, and in the UK with a view to the diaspora, Agusto takes inspiration from science fiction and modern cinema and television, citing references including the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Alice in Wonderland .
Escape to Within brings together a new body of work which builds her world into further realms of liminal distortion and dislocation. Often depicted in the absence of traditional perspective, light and gravity, Agusto supports her landscape instead upon a framework of braids, texture and abstract forms. The hybrids are created by imbuing the human figure with elements that symbolise the artist’s sense of self. These elements often originate as memories and may take the form of flora, fauna or iconography, as with the shape of a cross from a memory of Sunday School informing a head adornment. In contrast, non-hybrids are representations and recurring figures from Agusto’s daily life. Family members, friends and passers by are subsumed into her works.
Director of DADA Gallery, Oyinkansola Dada said: ‘We are delighted to present the first major comprehensive display of Bunmi Agusto’s works, whose practice resonates with my vision for the gallery. Bunmi is an artist that creates with the greatest intention and care. It has been a pleasure to see her practice grow over the years, continuing to push new and exciting boundaries.’