Explore contemporary African culture through the abstract ink paintings of Tomiwa Adelagun.
Nigeria & The UK
Tomiwa is a self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist who creates paintings to express African culture and traditions. He recently just closed an exhibition with Aworanka Art Gallery titled 'Framing Her'.
What characterizes your style of work?
My paintings are characterized by abstract figuration creating an opportunity for me to stand out from the crowd. My style can be described as Ink Pigmentation.
When others encounter your work, what would you like them to notice about it?
The simplicity, uniqueness, vibrancy, and creative abilities I used in portraying my visuals.
Have there been any notable influences that have helped to shape you as an artist?
Yes, I have been influenced by a few of the great artists in the industry, such as Bruce Onabrakpeya, Ben Enwonwu, Yusuf Grillo, Prince Saheed Adelakun, Fatola Israel, and Gorden Kegya of Ghana, to mention few!
Tears of Joy
When did you start to paint?
I started painting in 2013 but ventured into professional painting in 2015.
What do you like to paint and why?
I like to paint figures with abstract expressions exhibiting African culture, traditions, and ethics. This is because I find it easy to express my creative abilities with what's going on around me.
What colours and tones do you find yourself using often?
All. In art, every colour has its own beautification. I don't really use specific colours.
Are you self-taught, or did you learn to paint through an institution or mentorship?
I am a self-taught artist who grew up learning via YouTube to polish my skills.
Do you have other artistic interests aside from what you’re doing now?
Yes, I do. Aside from my present profession, I write songs and I currently have a single on www.reverbnation.com/tlyrica. I [also] write poems, create styles for fashion designing, and write scripts and playlets.
Why does painting resonate with you as a form of creative expression, as opposed to another art form?
Painting resonates with me more than other forms of art because I find it more interesting, loving, and expressive to relate my story to the world.
Palm Wine Tapper
Do you have a message you are trying to share through your art?
Yes, I do. The purpose of paintings should be to communicate or express what can't be seen.
Many of your artworks portray people of the African diaspora in contemporary settings, why is this representation important to you?
I portray most of my paintings in African contemporary settings because I am an African who doesn't want the African culture and traditions to fade away.
What do you like about your own work?
The uniqueness of the style.
What is the UK art scene like compared to the art scene in Lagos, Nigeria?
The art scene in Lagos, Nigeria is widely accepted while the art scene in the UK is growing up.
Are there any milestones or accomplishments that you’re appreciative of?
Yes. I have been able to exhibit my works in galleries and be a part of functions where we have various dignitaries like the Governor and senators of Nigeria. And lastly, I just concluded a painting of Fat Man Scoop who happens to be in the entertainment industry in America.
Why do you like to paint dancers in movement?
I choose to paint the dancers in movement because it expresses the vigor and the steps involved.
Has your work changed over the years?
Yes it has. I usually paint in detail, but recently I have changed from realism to surrealism, therefore giving me the ability to create my own unique style that has made me stand out.
Alone With My Flute
"My work has been used in the celebration of the Calabar art festival in Calabar, Nigeria."
Do you have any goals for your career in the future?
Yes I do. I'm currently working on having my paintings printed on T-Shirts, ladies' dresses, and some thick fabrics like Jean and so on.
How can people best support your work?
People can best support my work by purchasing, sharing, and following on my various social media platforms; and by showcasing my artworks to the world via TV networks.
In the process of creating work, what have you learned about yourself?
I have learned so much about myself and I have also gathered experience in the course of painting. I recently realized that hard work, resilience, diligence, and determination pay well.