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Atanda Quadri Adebayo

(Nigeria, 1999)

For Atanda Quadri Adebayo  painting is a journey of self-discovery and realization that allows him to acknowledge the past and project himself towards the future. The artist was born in Badagry, on the outskirts of Lagos (Nigeria), once an important geographical crossroads in the Trans- Atlantic slave trade. The brutal colonial past is a part of his story, which is transmitted through his paintings. The figures that populate his work represent unbroken men and women who burst with colour and hope, despite the adversity embedded in their life. Portrayed in elegant poses, the facial expressions embody empowered vulnerability, as well as bliss amidst struggles.

Adebayo’s first approach to painting took place at an early age, when his mother used to bring home chunks of charcoal that she would sell in Lagos, Nigeria to sustain the family. He gradually took an interest in them and started using them to draw. To this day, Adebayo still uses charcoal to render the skin of his figures and to elevate both his artwork, and his personal story with something as common, but as personally important, as a stick of charcoal.

Adebayo’s “artist soul” motif is a symbol of resilience as he uses the repetition of an abstract pattern created by blowing watercolour on canvas using a straw. The simple act of painting using his breath becomes a metaphor of life that allows him to infuse his art with parts of himself, combining both life and art.

Atanda Quadri Adebayo has obtained his diploma and higher diploma in painting at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria.