Odeyemi Oluwaseun, like many young adults, are documenting their experiences on figuring life out as it happens. The good, the bad, and the indifferent are all part of the journey of finding oneself. Odeyemi is interested in the deep bond that is formed between humans when they feel valued, heard, and recognized. He employs portraiture and figuration to capture the emotions of young adults within his environment of Lagos, Nigeria. Odeyemi draws from conversation, observation, friendship, and kinship to create his interpretations of the vulnerability in his subjects.
His first solo exhibition “Resilience” is a collection of 12 pieces, which are on view at Mitochondria Gallery in Houston, Texas, throughout September, 2022. In this body of work, Odeyemi is examining the capacity of young adults to withstand and recover from the head winds and obstacles in life. It is often said that “tough times don’t last, but tough people do,” given that tough people are not a monolith, their observed behavior during tough times is peculiar. Peculiarity is unambiguously represented in Odeyemi’s paintings through his interpretation of the skin on his subjects, which is symbolized as gradients of brown hues in the form of irregular patches and stripes arranged in a non-symmetrical manner. The pattern on the skin of each subject is unique. Odeyemi paints with a combination of wet and dry media that includes acrylic paint, charcoal, and conte to create works on canvas.
The feelings of belonging, purpose, happiness, confidence, and self-worth in the presence of adversity are captured in the titles of Odeyemi’s work such as “Bold and Courageous,” “against all odds,” “we are stronger together,” and “fearless.” He encourages his viewers “not to wallow or dwell on failures, but to acknowledge, learn and move forward. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice.”