yusuffaina.com, Lagos, Nigeria 12 Aug 2020 - 21 Sep 2020
Yusuff Aina Abogunde 'Myopic 3' (2020),
3.5 x 5 feet / 106 x 152.4 cm ( h x w)
Charcoal and acrylic on canvas
‘Where we dey go now?’ is the first solo exhibition of mixed-media Nigerian artist Yusuff Aina Abogunde. The virtual exhibition which is a collection of various artworks and exclusive series by the artist reflects on the trajectory of Black bodies, the definition of Blackness, and the various contrasts that exist for the most part within African countries. Largely influenced by the of events that marked the year 2020 in Nigeria and abroad, this exhibition is not only an artist’s statement, rather a direct call-to-action.
The 23 year-old artist who was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria has always tried through his art to communicate about issues surrounding the nature of humanity and its state of existence, as he largely draws his inspiration from the experiences of the people he encounters, his environment and global news. The exhibition ‘Where we dey go now?’ gives the artist a platform to showcase his most recent series, namely: Messiah Contest, Global Holiday, Portrait of the Year, Journey Through Time, Protraction and Myopic, where he flirts between prints on canvas and acrylic on canvas whilst documenting the various events which have affected the lives of so many this year in Nigeria and globally, forcing us to ask ourselves the question “where do we go from here?” which in Nigerian pidgin English translates to “where we dey go now?”
Yusuff worked on these series using a self-taught medium which he calls “Ainaism”. Ainaism is derived from “Aina” which is a Yoruba name given to a child born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his or her neck. Ainaism is a technique of creative lines, patterns and symbols inspired by his Yoruba culture that depict a journey, obstacles, hope, struggles 2/20 and freedom which he expresses through paint, ink, charcoal and colors on any possible surface. In these series, he often associates Ainaism with an “Eniyan” mask, a medium he uses as a representation of identity. In Yoruba, Eniyan is a term used to describe a human, a person or a being. This medium is also used in his sculptures as a way to give human forms, especially Black bodies a shape, where every crack becomes a voice that resonates within each Black person.
This text is an extract of the Foreward in the exhibition catalogue, which can be read in full length HERE.