State of the Art: Sola Olulode

Anna Walker 14 October 2021

Nigerian artist Sola Olulode is inspired by her identity as a queer Black artist. She spoke to us as ARTPOWHER Contemporary presents her new body of work

How would you describe your art?

I would describe my artwork as an exploration of the feelings behind relationships through colour and material in figurative painting. 

Who or what are your main influences?

The relationships that I have experienced and witnessed throughout my life inspire a lot of my work. Although the work is not autobiographical I can only explore the feelings that I have felt myself in the work.

Could you tell me a little about the influence of Yoruba Adire textiles on your work?

When I began to explore the use of dyes in my work I was particularly drawn to the history of indigo dyeing and it’s connection—and my own—to Nigeria.

That’s how I came to become fascinated by Adire and the traditional methods of resistance dyeing. I began to incorporate the methods they used to create patterns for textiles as a way to expand of the materiality of my figurative paintings. 

Asleep In The Heat, Copyright: ARTPOWHER Contemporary (courtesy of ARTPOWHER Contemporary)

You work across many mediums, from textiles to pastels and painting. Do you have a favourite?

I think my absolute favourite medium to work with will always be oil paints. There’s something about the richness of colour that you get from the paint that I love so much, as intense colour plays such a huge role in setting the tone for my work.

What can viewers of your new show with ARTPOWHER Contemporary look forward to? 

Viewers of my presentation at ARTPOWHER Contemporary can expect to see a new experiment with how to hang a painting from me. I’ve always wanted to take my work off the standard frame and hang it in a more interesting way as I’m fed up with the stiffness of a stretched canvas.

I think the wooden bars that I’ve chosen to hang my works with are great for this bed theme. For me when I look at them I see the painting extended, I see the bars as the frame of the bed. The way it hangs looser brings it back closer to the textiles that have influenced my work.

Goodnight Kiss, Copyright: ARTPOWHER Contemporary (courtesy of ARTPOWHER Contemporary)

How did you come to the title of your presentation, “I Love Sharing The Bed With You”?

The title came quite simply to me as I thought around the reasons why I enjoyed creating these scenes of couples in bed and what it was about this particular setting for couples that resonated with me. In my personal life laying in bed with a loved one is my happiest place.  

Visit ARTPOWHER to learn more and you can see more of Sola's work at their website

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