Lagunju, Wole
Born 1966 in Oshogbo, Nigeria. Lives and works in North Carolina, USA
Wole Lagunju practices a visually stunning form of Onaism, wherein he appropriates Western cultural artifacts and combines them with Yoruba cultural artifacts, notably Gelede masks, to challenge the audience to consider how we often look at culture through a Western lens. The Gelede masquerade is a performance celebrating motherhood, fertility, and femininity - and combining these themes with Western cultural icons, he evolves our understanding of the role of Yoruba culture - and broadly African art - to reframe our perspective.⁣ Sampling from a wide variety of cultural iconography across history - from Dutch Golden to Elizabethan to fifties Americana to Nigerian adiré batik - Lagunju’s paintings are both fashionable but also imbued with layers of inspiration and meaning. Lagunju’s cultural references, mined from the eras of colonization and decolonization of the African continent critique the racial and social structures of the 19th century whilst evoking commentaries on power, femininity and womanhood.