Art Culture

Toyin Portrays Black Skin as Textured And Diverse In ‘Testing The Name’

Visual artist Toyin Ojih Odutola’s new collection of drawings is a playful but also a pensive movement of power and a representation in conventional art in every way.

‘Testing the Name’ which is the next chapter in a fictional story about two Nigerian aristocratic families who are joined by the marriage of two men.

Combining traditional portraiture, which historically only featured white subjects and modern techniques, Odutola builds a very interesting narrative based on personal observations and her inner circle.

The collection which was featured in her solo exhibition at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, until September 2018 had previous works from this ongoing story featured at Whitney Museum in the recent exhibition.

She depicts her scenes in pastel, pencil and charcoal, enabling her to create layered drawings that explore the construct of skin colour. Instead of the basics of either black or white, Odutola transforms skin complexion into complex shaded strands.

Ojih Odutola was recently honoured by Amref Health Africa at the ArtBall where she received the Rees Visionary Award. ArtBall is a contemporary African art auction and philanthropic event that aims to raise funds and awareness for Amref Health Africa.


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