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  • Writer's pictureSegolene Py

Adébayo Bolaji, The Power and The Pause at Beers London

Until 22nd May 2021, Beers London gallery, located in Central London, is offering the wonderful view of Adébayo Bolaji's works. I was so delighted to finally see his works in real life after discovering him last year.

First thing I noted was his resemblance with #Basquiat, but I also realised through research, that Oyelami (Nigerian painter, drummer and actor) was quite close to his faces representation, with strong Yoruba inspiration. He is also inspired by Bob Thomson, an Afro-American painter from the 60s. We see a resemblance in the shapes of figures and colourful representation.

Adébayo Bolaji is quite an interesting character: contemporary artist, writer, actor, he is also director of Ex Nihilo theatre group. As a multidisciplinary artist, he practices painting using acrylics, crayon and spray painting; and also does sculpture and collages.

Bolaji said in an interview last year that his process for painting starts with something that is bothering him, something that needs to get out. There is something more than the representation his heritage, which seems to be the main thing people ask about when you are a person of colour. In his interview with Galerie Kremers, he expresses that his heritage, Nigerian Yoruba, is coming through his painting rather than him having the purpose to create art about it. With a goal of finding harmony, Bolaji paints in a different rhythm, trying to get away from western expression.

Adébayo Bolaji sees the artist as the medium, a messenger that brings opinions together and open a new dialogue in each creation. 'Power and Pause' at the Beers London is about self exploration and a gateway to open our mind to new things. This last year has been a pretty difficult one, forcing us to “pause” and reflect on ourselves, but also explore. And there is “power” in discovering oneself, understand oneself and sharing our own process of discovery. In this exhibition Adébayo Bolaji expresses his feelings about those two words. I see characters that are regal, some are angry, some are happy they have found something wonderful, some are dancing. The sculpture makes me think of restriction, as if the reflection through those words and the reflection process through lockdown has been stopped for a while, but in other I see the freedom that has also allowed to let go.

Coming with the exhibition is a small catalogue, a "thought book" consisting in 8 reflections: an image showing himself with collage of images and texts put together, as you can observe an example above. The catalogue is now sold out.

Adébayo Bolaji lives and work in South London, graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama. He had many solo and group shows mainly in London and Germany. His next exhibition will be a big show for University Of Hertfordshire Graphic and Design Gallery (Hatfield, AL10 9AB), showing works from the last five years with some new one.


Adébayo Bolaji


Beers London

51 Little Britain

London EC1A 7BH


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