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Interview with Visual Artist Ayobola Kekere-Ekun

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Give us a brief introduction. My name is Ayobola Kekere-Ekun. I’m a visual artist who predominantly works with a variety of materials. I have a B.A. and M.A. in Graphic design from the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos where I also teach. I’m currently pursuing a PhD in Art and Design at the University of Johannesburg.  

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How did you get started doing what you do? It was by accident to be honest. I started working in the style in known for in my final year at UNILAG. In addition to my dissertation, I had to do a final practical project. I was so determined not to paint; I guess I was subconsciously looking for a way out. My final project was a success and I just kept creating afterwards. I had found an outlet I hadn’t even realised I needed.   How would you describe your creative style? I would describe my creative style as subtle minimalism, even though I know that’s a bit of a paradox. Ultimately my work is characterised by an obsession with lines. It’s basically lines on steroids catching pockets of light and shadow.  

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What materials do you use?  how long does it typically take for you to finish a piece? I’ll toy with any material that responds to my technique; paper, fabric, metal etc. The time each piece takes tends to vary. I think the fastest I’ve done in recent times was about two and a half weeks.   Do you have a favourite piece or series? What is the story behind it? I know this might sound ridiculous, but I view my art as a part of myself. Almost like my children. I literally can’t pick a favourite. They all signal a part of my life that I hold precious. Maybe in the future I’ll be able to pick a favourite, but in this moment I can’t.  

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Is a community of artists important to you? It is. I think it’s important to have your tribe. A small selection of like-minded people who feed into my life and my practice positively.     What other forms of art have you considered? At this point in my practice, all my creative outlets are visual. Perhaps I’ll explore other directions as I grow. I’m open to possibilities.

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what are you currently obsessed with and how is this feeding into your work? I am currently obsessed with research into power dynamics within a historical as well as contemporary perspective. It’s informing the new pieces I’m working on in the power series.   What do you do in your free time? Hobbies? I LOVE reading. I’ll read literally anything that catches my interest within the first two pages.  

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Do you have any upcoming shows or collaborations? At the moment I don’t have any concrete plans in place. My social media is usually the best way to keep track of what I’m up to.     Ayoola can be reach online here; Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ayobola.k/   Twitter https://twitter.com/ayobola_k

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