Demilade II

Demilade II + I
Beads, cowry shells, leather, wood, synthetic hair, stripped tire, found rubber and metal artifact
11” x 68”

Demilade II, detail
Demilade II, detail
Demilade II, detail

Artist Statement

In ongoing series, “Demilade” (crown me in Yoruba), Oluseye weaves together the traditions of Yoruba masculinity and dominance while asserting and recentering Black women’s place and power in both contemporary and historical narratives of tradition and of rule. Using found objects and women’s hair, Oluseye remakes traditionally male-centered emblems, emblazoning them at their core with symbols and epitaphs of past and present Black womanhood(s). Thus, we are invited and indeed forced to contemplate a world where women stand at the center, as equal partners with power of their own. A power unbounded by time or place.

Oluseye’s work is a warm embrace of the magnitude and polyvocality of Blackness and of the ways in which it moves across space, place, and time, shaping and shifting the world. Centering Yoruba cultural references in an homage to his heritage, he bends the ancestral with the contemporary and rejects the binary distinction between the traditional and the modern; the physical and the spiritual; the past and the future; what is new and what is old. Imbuing the everyday with the mythic, his work reinforces African rituals and philosophies as living, complex, and valid traditions of Black consciousness. He has exhibited at The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Gallery 151, New York; and Art Twenty-one, Lagos. He is a recipient of the Canada Council for The Arts New Chapter Grant and the 2019 Toronto and Ontario Arts Council Visual Arts Grant.