Thought provoking Nigerian photographer, Adeola Olagunju makes us really see the world around us–and question it
Adeola has been quoted as saying: “Creativity is where I dance naked”. She expounds: “Vulnerability is not one of the easiest things to explore. But this is what artists embrace in order to create. You risk being judged to open yourself up on a canvas–a place of both comfortable and not so comfortable truth and honesty. When I choose to create from my personal life narrative and take a step further to put it in the public domain; that is dancing naked.”
Of course, all of us have felt the vulnerability inherent in being without our clothes. Adeola embraces this in very striking and provocative photographs, especially in her “Redemption” series, that makes us look at deformity and then, see beyond it, into ourselves.
“I didn’t have to do more than simply documenting my experience with illness. It was the reality at the time and the images were witnesses. Whoever has been gravely ill understands the different layers of emotions one is made to go through by the day.”
She adds that “A lot of people share my experience in different ways, either personal or through loved ones. As such, it became easier to connect to the strong feelings/emotions this body of work was laced with. I didn’t have to explain it, people just got it.”
Her body of work has certainly grown and transformed over time, inspired and informed by her experiences. The emotions in motion have contributed to the way I think or look at my own works daily. The work lies mostly in how to reflect this diversely through my creations.” And that is how her work continues to evolve.
But Adeola’s art do not exist on their own. They serve as a documentary, as it were. “Memory, I find, is too frail, hence, my choice of photography to try and preserve these lived (both real and imagined) experiences.” In so doing, she contributes to the history of her people and the world.