Oluwatobi Adewumi

Oluwatobi Adewumi is a Contemporary Artist who focuses on the sociocultural aspect of the subject through his multimedia drawings. He was born in Ibadan, Capital city of Oyo State, Nigeria where he also earned a degree in computer science. His love of art and self-training began in childhood with comics and paper crafts. He works in a variety of traditional art media and contemporary mixed media. Adewumi’s art explores his personal journey of having been born in Nigeria then assimilating into American culture in conservative Arkansas. He has participated in numerous exhibitions and competitions including Drawing Exhibition: Dialogue with the Faces, Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia, Arkansas, where he emerged the Grand Prize winner, 33 Chelsea Fine Art Competition/Exhibition, Agora Gallery, New York and many others.

About the Work

With every piece of art I produce comes a story, an opportunity to provide history, a new voice, narrative, and perspective for my audience. I believe in using my artistic gift as conduit to share the stories of people and places living in different societies and cultures with a new context. My creative process and work always leads to providing platform and information for movement to discuss value and cultural shifts in the new world. Every face has a story to tell, history behind it, questions, and beauty.

The use of materials in my work is calculated. I am often looking for avenues of the unexpected. An ironic twist to images or things you might expect or their combinations provoke a participant to new and perhaps unexplored territories. My work for the past 10 years has used revealing aspects of history, which have a profound impact on our contemporary culture today.

In the current climate where many believe history has no relevance, I find myself continually returning to those aspects that are often hidden or misrepresented in the “original” recordings for posterity. In my varied and diverse approaches to making art, the purpose is for the context to impact the viewer. Art remains as a strong contender of how we share our thoughts and ideas. Throughout history, art has survived the tidal wave of information and remains an unpredictable source of imagination. It has the possibilities of changing one’s thoughts, opening new ideas, and borrowing through received ideas so common to our educational system.

I have no grand illusions that art will create a revolution in the traditional sense, but I have witnessed the powerful changes it can make in an individual. Just one new idea can change a person’s perception. The world may not change in an instant by art, but its slow and insipid spread into the active part of our brain lives to tell the tale. It may leave the studio and make its way around the world and yet come back to the studio where anything can happen.

“I have been painting faces and figures throughout my career as they are part of an ongoing journey of which neither I nor the viewer will ever tire. The foundation for my portraits comes from the African Mask. As a child, I remember the visual impact it had on me and remains strong in my retainable memory to this day. The mask forces a response from the viewer, whether a primitive or contemporary response. Colour is the symbol I use to reflect the emotional stages through which we as humans experience – reds for the violent past, blues, greens for the peace to come, and yellow and oranges for the bright future ahead. The latter is not guaranteed in my paintings. However, I think it is attainable in life.”

Voted Best Art Gallery 2019 in "Best of Northwest Arkansas”


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