« Escape to Within » is the first solo exhibition by artist Bunmi Agusto at Dada Gallery through August 8, 2021 in London’s Cromwell Place.
« Escape to Within » presents eighteen new metaphorical works from Bunmi Agusto‘s dreamlike world. Following the movement of a group of characters through an intricate scene of woven forests and murky waters, the Nigerian artist represents the surreal world she has in mind, named « Within ».
Originating between two nations, Nigeria and London where she has lived since the age of sixteen, Bunmi Agusto changes the sense of alienation she has experienced living between these two lands through her artwork, using the metaphor of hybridity within the world she imagines. Depicted in pastel, chalk and mixed media on paper, the artist creates a landscape of hybrid figures, recognized as a mixture of surfaces, landscapes and iconographies that reflect her cultural consciousness.
These whimsical representations highlight the multiplicity of her identity that draws on traditional Nigerian symbolism and contemporary pop culture references. By examining cultural assumptions from a young age, both in Nigeria for the assessment of cultural practices and in the UK for the diaspora. Bunmi Agusto draws motivation from current science fiction, film and television, referencing, for example, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Alice in Wonderland.
« Escape to Within » brings together a collection of works that form his universe in areas of liminal distortion and dislocation. Often presented without conventional point of view, light and gravity, Bunmi Agusto maintains her landscape with a structure of unique twists, textures and shapes. These hybrids are made by saturating the human figure with components that represent the artist’s ability to be self-aware. These elements often come from memories and may appear as greenery, wildlife or iconography, for example, a cross from a Sunday school memory that propelled a head cut. Conversely, non-hybrids are not representations and recurring figures in the daily life of Bunmi Agusto. Relatives, companions and passersby are integrated into his works.
Born in 1999 in Lagos, Nigeria, artist Bunmi Agusto depicts surreal figures with a cultural metaphorical language, while drawing inspiration from terminology close to her culture.
Specifically, she uses Sherry Turkle‘s theory that objects of remembrance are receptacles to which individual histories and cultural identities are appended. Bunmi Agusto mixes representations of the human body with elements she believes are essential to her idea to foster a folklore of anecdotal factions with transcendental measure. A 2020 graduate of Central Saint Martins in London, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, she has twice received the Cass Art Prize and has exhibited her work in Nigeria and around the world. She has participated in various thematic exhibitions, organized by the Saatchi Gallery, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archeology, Christie’s Education, The Koppel Project Central Gallery and many others.