Yusuff Aina Abogunde

Artist Talk /Q&A

Can you tell us about yourself and why you became an Artist?

I am Yusuff Aina Abogunde. I am a visual artist from Lagos, Nigeria. I am a contemporary multimedia artist. I work on several media such as paintings, digital art, and sculptures, I am diving into 3d and virtual arts, but I mostly work with acrylic and charcoal on canvas.

I became an artist because growing up it was something I love doing, and Art was what I did best. As the years passed, I wanted to be great at creating art. I want to pass my message across to the world, to show the world what I can do, and prove myself worthy of something. I also wanted to be an artist to create something new and unique in the world of art. 

Tell us a little bit about your painting style?

My style of art, I call it “Ainaism.” It is coined from my name Aina, which means a child born with an umbilical cord around their neck.

I often represent my artwork with the use of motion lines, and also with a character I call “Eni-Yan” which is like a mask. This character and elements, the lines and mask, all signify a journey through life of a human being.

The lines tend to focus on the road map, the beauty of life’s journey, through the struggle, hope, and false happenings. The colors I use in these motion lines are meant to express those experiences.

Eni-Yan means human being in Yoruba language. I make use of this character to strip off the identity of a person, by using one face to represent all humans, as a symbol of unity and togetherness.

Eni-Yan is used to represents humans and our struggle. The face of Eni-Yan is inspired from sculptural wooden and metallic masks that have been present in different African cultures.

I often represent my work in the style of pop Art, with vibrant colors and a cartoon like form. I want to create a sense of beauty in how the African mask can be represented. Its more of like my own design of the African mask, to give Africans a voice, as well as Black people around the world.

The uniqueness and identity of my work is that it is a concept of art that you cannot find any other artist executing, what I try to address is the issue of identity.

How I want to make use of a character to represent all humans in the world independent of race and tradition. I place this mask on different forms and characters in my work, to show how deep the conversation of humanity is. It also centers how I want people to react, with respect to how we can make things work together as humans.

My work generally has the gravity to change narratives from history, to the present, and future. I like sharing the messages of oneness and talking about issues that affect individuals. The only way we can affect the world is if we share individual pain and joy amongst ourselves.

Talk to us about the works of yours that were selected for our Life in Color Exhibition?

The works I have in the exhibition are Twist 1 and 2. It is a series which I try to express the state of humanity, we are currently in around the world.

I made use of a contortionist as a reference, or as an inspiration to express how twisted and congested humanity has become.

I wanted to represent the idea that we were created from dust. As time goes by, we are becoming rigid and less flexible, which is causing us to crack due to our self-centeredness and selfishness.

The behavior of trying to prove which individual or groups of people are better than the others, is really breaking humanity apart and affecting our environment.

In twist 1, I try to show how difficult it is for humanity, and the pain inflicted on humanity from this behavior. Twist 2, I try to reduce the level of contortion in the figure, in order to display a sign of hope some people share in humanity, that things are going to change for the better.

What is your favorite color?

My favorite colors are black and white. I use black and white because it is a form of balance to me. They are neutral colors; I like things being natural and neutral. When you try to create nature, everything starts from dark to light, it’s just my personal logic. Sometimes I like blue as well. 

What is your favorite medium?

My favorite medium to work with is acrylic because it dries fast- it creates a very smooth color.  I like the way I work with it and the way it mixes. I like working with clay for my sculptures before I cast them. I like working on photoshop, adobe illustrator, and Autodesk. Those are the digital applications I use to create art.    

Editors Note
Yusuff Aina Abogunde. Life in Color. Mitochondria Gallery. Buy Pop African Art.

Mitochondria Gallery specializes in art works from emerging and established artist from Africa and the diaspora, with the mission to educate, and expand the public awareness on contemporary arts from Africa.

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Works by Yusuff Aina

Previously Featured Artists