Where did you grow up?
My growing up was a dichotomy between two places, Nigeria and ‘my home’, the UK. I knew very little about Lagos except what I’d seen on the media, I’d hardly ever explore the streets so I had little awareness of the Lagos culture; I grew up pretty naïve.
I call the latter home because the UK gave an actual context to a lot of my previous thoughts and experiences. The UK lent into playing a huge part In my identity formation.
In which ways does your own identity and culture influence your art?
To a very large extent. I think when you begin to identify yourself in a plethora of circumstances, your true essence is seen – ultimately that influences everything. I love to see myself in what I create, a lot of my qualities are explored – warmth, nativity and complexity.
In your opinion, what more can be done within the European arts industry for black artists to get the recognition they deserve and be represented equally?
Education plays a significant part in change, black artists lack substantial representation in academia. As we learn the works of Andre Breton and the likes of Joan Miro so should we also learn the Wifredo Lam and Kehinde Wiley’s. It increases the curiosity for these artists. Younger artists should be given more opportunities to exhibit thus collectors are more interested in their works.
Do you think creativity is something that can be taught or must it come naturally?
For the most part, I think creativity is a natural occurrence but can be enhanced through teaching. To be a creative is to have a sixth sense of feeling, observation, reaffirmation, these are innate qualities. And so, if you ask ‘does everyone have a natural creative instinct?’, I’d say ‘yes’ but the variety is in how much we let our creativity thrive within our lives and how we enhance it i.e. through going to fashion school or art school.
Would you say the experience behind your work is subjective?
Certainly! The intricacies of collage very much allows for that subjective view, using personal feelings, experiences to form an opinion. Design is meant to make people feel things, that’s the idea of subjectivity. Allowing people to bask in their emotions when creating is very important.