Lot 129 - Ayobola Kekere-Ekun - Hide but Never Seek (Sketch)
Lot 129 - Ayobola Kekere-Ekun - Hide but Never Seek (Sketch)

Lot 129 - Ayobola Kekere-Ekun - Hide but Never Seek (Sketch)

Pen on Watercolour Paper
A6 (10x15cm) original artwork
Signed on verso

Ayobola Kekere-Ekun (b. 1993) is a contemporary visual artist. She was born in Lagos, Nigeria. Her B.A. and M.A. in Visual arts were received from the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos; where she majored in Graphic Design. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Art and Design at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Ayobola is also a Lecturer at the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos. Ayobola’s work often explores subjects connected to gender, mythology, power and the human condition in a multi-layered way; creating work through a labour-intensive process. Her work is heavily informed by personal experiences and observations. She is particularly interested in exploring the subtle interplay of time, space, gender, power and social structures in contemporary society. Ayobola works predominantly with a technique known as quilling, in which strips of paper are individually shaped to create forms. She tends to quill with a variety of materials that respond well to the technique; including ribbon and strips of canvas. She constantly experiments with new ways of exploring materials and their capabilities. Ayobola views the intricacy of her work as a visual metaphor of the complexity of the subject matter she engages with. 


2014 - B.A. Visual Arts from the University of Lagos 2017- M.A. Visual Arts from the University of Lagos 2021 - PhD Art and Design (in view) from the University of Johannesburg


December 2020, Untitled Art Fair – Miami October 2020, High Stakes (solo) – Guns and Rain, Johannesburg January 2020, Young Contemporaries Alumni – National Museum, Lagos October 2019, Making Matter: Materiality and Technology in Nigerian Art – Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Lagos July 2019, Suffrage – Guns and Rain, Johannesburg May 2019, Imagine the Opposite – No End Contemporary, Johannesburg April 2019, Resilient Lines (solo) – Rele Gallery, Lagos October 2018, Cu-ulture and Tradition: Same Experience, Different Local – Koppel Project Hive, London May 2017, Idanimo – Terrakulture Gallery, Lagos May 2017, In Honour of Professor Bolanle Awe – Museum of the Institute of Africa Studies University of Ibadan, Ibadan February 2017, Her Story – Rele Gallery, Lagos November 2016, Dysmorphia & Other Thoughts – Ake Arts and Book Festival, Abeokuta January 2016, Young Contemporaries – Rele Gallery, Lagos Awards 2018 – The Future Awards 2018 Prize for Creativity 2018 – The Dean Collection 20 St(art)ups Grants 2016 – Rele Art Foundation “Young Contemporaries” Grant 2014 – University of Lagos, Convocation Prize 2012 – United States Consulate General ‘Women’s History Month’ Art ContestGuns and Rain, South Africa

About the postcard artworks

The core of my artistic practice rests on three foundational pillars. The first is an attraction to lines. I have always had a genuine fascination with lines. I think it’s interesting how the primary component of all complex forms can be ambiguously loaded with meaning. A line can connect and separate, enclose and exclude, direct and misdirect, all at the same time. To a large extent, my work is a three-dimensional manifestation of lines. I amplify their complexity by enabling them to catch pockets of light and cast subtle shadows. This becomes an avenue to tease out smaller stories within wider narratives visually. The second pillar is the seeming neutrality of paper. I view paper as a conceptual Trojan horse. It’s a basic, unassuming material that exists in the backgrounds of our lives; bland, reliable, and ordinary. By making paper the visual centerpiece of my art, I encourage my audience to reconsider the material’s value and potential. This re-examination also underscores a running theme in my practice, which is that things are rarely what they appear to be. The use of fabrics in Yorùbá, Nigerian society is my third pillar. Across my practice, I use fabrics as a reference to the practice of Aṣọ ẹbi in Nigerian society. Aṣọ ẹbi, which translates to “family cloth” refers to the selection of a fabric that serves as a “uniform” worn by families and friends alike during communal ceremonies such as weddings, birthdays and funerals. It is intended to be a show of love, support and camaraderie. The practice has, however, been corrupted in contemporary times, becoming a common source of disputes when prices are excessively inflated to turn a profit and community members are unable or unwilling to acquire the fabric. My use of fabrics references how the positive can quickly mutate to take on negative connotations. It is also a visual representation of societal pressure and expectations. I enjoy exploring themes related to gender, memory, mythology and identity. My work involves placing strips of paper on their edges to create forms. It is a rather labour-intensive process as each strip must be manually measured, manipulated and secured. I approach paper as a means of painting without pigments. The visual complexity of my art becomes a visual metaphor for the difficulty of the themes I tackle. My art is often visually playful and engaging, characterised by intricacy and bright colours. I think of the visual accessibility of my work as a “trap” of sorts. It lures an audience into engaging before revealing the darker subject matter the work deals with; a constant reminder of the fallacy of face value.